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THE BOOKS OF THE WEATHER BIRD PRESS 



Vance Gerry 



Interviewed by Rebecca Ziegler 



Completed under the auspices 

of the 

Oral History Program 

University of California 

Los Angeles 



Copyright © 1992 
The Regents of the University of California 



COPYRIGHT LAW 



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violation of copyright law. 



RESTRICTIONS ON THIS INTERVIEW 



None. 



LITERARY RIGHTS AND QUOTATION 



This manuscript is hereby made available for research 
purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, 
including the right to publication, are reserved to 
the University Library of the University of California, 
Los Angeles. No part of the manuscript may be quoted 
for publication without the written permission of the 
University Librarian of the University of California, 
Los Angeles. 



CONTENTS 

Biographical Summary vi 

Interview History ix 

TAPE NUMBER: I, Side One (April 20, 1989) 1 

Schooling — Teachers at Chouinard Art Institute-- 
Working for Grant Dahlstrom at Castle Press- - 
Scott E. Hasel ton- -House Olson--Clyde Browne-- 
Plans to become an illustrator fall through-- 
Begins working at Walt Disney Studio. 

TAPE NUMBER: 1, Side Two (April 20, 1989) 26 

Gerry's various printshops- -Books he has printed-- 
Herb Yellin and the Lord John Press--Gerry ' s 
favorites among the books he has printed. 

TAPE NUMBER: II, Side One (April 20, 1989) 50 

More on Gerry's books- - Bahloul and Hamdouna- - 
Miniature books- -Woodcut and illustrations-- 
Checklist of Gerry's publications. 

TAPE NUMBER: III, Side One (May 4, 1989) 72 

More on Gerry's books--Rounce and Coffin Club-- 
Maps--More on miniature books. 

TAPE NUMBER: III, Side Two (May 4, 1989) 99 

More books--Production etching--Platen jobbers-- 
Bookbindinq- - Weather Bird — Books he never 
completed- -Books he plans for the future-- 
Partnership with Patrick Reagh — Favorite 
typefaces. 

TAPE NUMBER: IV, Side One (May 4, 1989) 125 

More on typefaces- -Choosing paper--Layout-- 
Illustrating--Binding . 

TAPE NUMBER: IV, Side Two (May 4, 1989) 150 

Bela Blau — Mel Kavin and Kater Craft binders — 
Gerry's commercial printing. 



XV 



TAPE NUMBER: V, Side One (May 18, 1989) 156 

Printers Gerry admires — The Western Books 
Exhibition — Los Angeles printers — Pasadena 
printers--Los Angeles booksellers. 

TAPE NUMBER: V, Side Two (May 18, 1989) 182 

Jake Zeitlin — The Clark Library — Printing in 
Pasadena--The economics of running a small press-- 
The future of printing. 

TAPE NUMBER: VI, Side One (May 18, 1989) 206 

More on the binding process- -The various media 
Gerry has worked in--Stenciling--The California 
watercolorists--Watercolor as a medium- -Favorite 
artists and illustrators--Working at Disney. 

TAPE NUMBER: VI, Side Two (May 18, 1989) 231 

Various positions at Disney--Films he has worked 
on- -Winnie-the-Pooh . 

Index 246 

Index of Books Designed and/or Printed by Vance Gerry... 251 



BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY 

PERSONAL HISTORY: 

Bom: August 21, 1929, Pasadena, California. 

Education: Woodbury College; Art Center School; 
Chouinard Art Institute. 

Military service: Corporal, United States Army, 1951- 
52. 

Spouse: Mary Palmer Gerry. 

CAREER HISTORY: 

Apprentice printer. Castle Press, 1943. 

Layout man, story sketch artist, Walt Disney Studio, 
1955-present. 

Owner, Weather Bird Press, 1968-present. 

Printer, Patrick Reagh Printers, Glendale, California, 
1980-81. 

SELECTED BOOKS DESIGNED AND/OR PRINTED BY: 

Some Fond Remembrances of a Boy Printer at the Castle 
Press (1968). 

The Marvelous Platen Jobber of George Phineas Gordon 
(1968). 

The Ernest A. Lindner Collection of Antique Printing 
Machinery (1971). 

A Picture Book of Chickens (1972). 

The Everyday Gourmet , Dan and Betty Bailey (1973). 

Bibliography of Cheney Miniatures (1975). 

Distributing Type or the Just Art of Throwing In (1975) 

Special Recipes for Special People , Vera Ricci (1976). 



VI 



A Tussle Mussie , Louise Seymour Jones (1976). 

Grant Dahlstrom, Master Printer; A Tribute on His 
Seventy-fifth Birthday (1977). 

Four Common Plants ; Linoleum Cuts and the Text 
Describing Oleander, Plumbago, Wild Cucumber, and Yarrow 
(1978). 

Grant Dahlstrom at Seventy-five: More Tributes (1978). 

Letters concerning D. H. Lawrence (1978). 

The Day the Pig Fell in the Well , John Cheever ( 1978 ) . 

A Treatise on the Art and Antiquity of Cookery in the 
Middle Ages , Rochelle Lucky (1978). 

Out of the West; Poems by William Everson, Gary Snyder, 
Philip Levine, Clayton Eshleman, and Jerome Rothenberg 
(1979). 

Designs Cut for Plantin Press Calendars, 1941 to 1946 , 
Marion Kronfeld (1980). 

Miniatures on Modern Artists; Some Notes (1980). 

Topography of the Castle Press, circa 1943, and Other 
Dim Recollections (1980). 

Under Three Inches (1981). 

House Olson, Printer , David W. Davies (1983). 

Selected War Poems of Wilfred Owen (1983). 

Four Weeds (1984). 

The Standing and the Waiting , M. F. K. Fisher (1985). 

On the Illustrating of Books , Edward Ardizzone (1986). 

The San Pasqual Press; A Dream Nearly Realized (1986). 

Goodbye, E. G. Lindner Company (1990). 

Hearty Fare (1990). 

Madeleine, Lawrence Clark Powell (1990). 



Vll 



FILMS WORKED ON AT WALT DISNEY STUDIO: 

Sleeping Beauty (1959). 

101 Dalmatians (1961). 

The Sword in the Stone (1963). 

Winnie-the-Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966). 

The Jungle Book (1967). 

Winnie-the-Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968) 

The Aristocats (1970). 

Robin Hood (1973). 

The Rescuers (1977). 

The Fox and the Hound (1981). 

The Black Cauldron (1985). 

The Great Mouse Detective (1986). 

Oliver (1988). 

The Prince and the Pauper (1990). 

Beauty and the Beast (1991). 
AFFILIATIONS: 

Rounce and Coffin Club. 



Vlll 



INTERVIEW HISTORY 



INTERVIEWER: 

Rebecca Ziegler, Gold Shield Intern, UCLA Oral History 
Program. B.A., History of Religions, University of 
Chicago; M.A., Folklore, UCLA; Ph.D., individual 
program, UCLA; M.L.S., UCLA. 

TIME AND SETTING OF INTERVIEW: 

Place: Tapes I and II, Powell Library, UCLA; tape III, 
University Research Library, UCLA. 

Dates, length of sessions: April 20, 1989 (102 
minutes); May 4, 1989 (144); May 18, 1989 (160). 

Total number of recorded hours: 6.75 

Persons present during interview: Gerry and Ziegler. 

CONDUCT OF INTERVIEW: 

In preparing for the interview, Ziegler reviewed the 
Weather Bird Press collection at UCLA's William Andrews 
Clark Memorial Library. The collection contains books 
and other items printed by Gerry, as well as the proof 
sheets, correspondence, sketches, and financial records 
related to his various printing jobs. 

The interview is organized chronologically, beginning 
with Gerry's schooling, early work experiences, and 
subsequent career at Walt Disney Studio, and continuing 
on through his career as a printer. Major topics 
discussed include the books that Gerry has printed, his 
ideas on book design and illustration, other printers 
and bookmen in Los Angeles, and Gerry's work at Disney 
Studio. 

EDITING: 

Lisa White, editorial assistant, edited the interview. 
She checked the verbatim transcript of the interview 
against the original tape recordings, edited for 
punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified 
proper names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor 
have been bracketed. 



IX 



Gerry reviewed the transcript. He verified proper names 
and made minor corrections and additions. 

Teresa Barnett, senior editor, prepared the table of 
contents and index. Rebecca Stone, editorial assistant, 
prepared the biographical summary and interview history. 

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS: 

The original tape recordings of the interview are in the 
university archives and are available under the 
regulations governing the use of permanent noncurrent 
records of the university. Records relating to the 
interview are located in the office of the UCLA Oral 
History Program. 

Gerry's papers are deposited at the William Andrews 
Clark Memorial Library, and are listed as Press Coll 
Weather Bird, Gerry, Archives of the Weather Bird Press 
1967 to 1987. 



X 



TAPE NUMBER: I, SIDE ONE 
APRIL 20, 1989 

ZIEGLER: I'm sitting here in Powell Library in Lawrence 

Clark Powell's former office and I'm interviewing Vance 

Gerry. So are we ready to begin? 

GERRY: Yes, indeed we are. 

ZIEGLER: First, could you tell me a little bit about when 

and where you were born and where you grew up? 

GERRY: Yes. I was born in Pasadena--I still live there-- 

almost sixty years ago. 

ZIEBLER: Have you lived there all your life? 

GERRY: Off and on for most of my life, yes, I've lived in 

Pasadena. 

ZIEGLER: What schools did you attend? 

GERRY: I went to Luther Burbank Grammar School, Thomas 

Jefferson Grammar School, and then we moved to Altadena 

from Pasadena. We lived there for the next twenty years, I 

guess. And I went to Elliot Junior High School, Charles W. 

Elliot Junior High School in Altadena. And then — I was a 

very bad student — a very poor student — and I went through 

high school at a little school for those who weren't smart 

enough to make it through public school called University 

School, which was in Pasadena. That's how I managed to get 

through high school . 

ZIEGLER: Where did you go then? 



GERRY: Well, as I said, I was a pretty bad student, and 
the only thing I'd ever shown any talent in was a little 
bit of artwork. Teachers usually liked my artwork in 
grammar school, watercolors and crayons and so on. So I 
had sort of always thought that I would be a commercial 
artist. So when it came time to go to college--which my 
father [Francis B. Gerry], of course, wanted me to do 
although I was ill-prepared--! chose art school, because I 
thought it would be easy and because I could qualify and 
get in, whereas in a regular college I probably could never 
have gotten in. But he went along with that, and I went to 
a place that's still going called Woodbury College. This 
was right about at the end of the war and it was filled 
with GI students, and they had expanded their facilities to 
accommodate them. 
ZIEGLER: Where's that located? 

GERRY: It was on Wilshire Boulevard near Figueroa [Street] 
at that time. I don't know where it is now. It may still 
be there. And they had a commercial art department, which 
was not very good I don't think at that time. But I was 
pretty young. I wasn't twenty years old when I started at 
Woodbury. And it was probably- -because I was so young- - 
better to go there than one of the better art schools when 
I was only that age. 

Later on I went to Art Center [School], which was then 



way out on Third Street. An old girls school. I went 
there for a semester and I was drafted. After the Korean 
War I went to Chouinard [Art Institute] , and that was the 
best school. I went there when they were at the very peak 
of their ability as an art school, I would say. The 
teachers and Mrs. [Nelbert Murphy] Chouinard, who had made 
the school, were still all there and in their prime, and I 
was lucky enough to be there. Although, at the time, I 
didn't really realize-- It was later on, when I look 
back. So I got a pretty good art school education, if not 
any other kind. 

ZIEGLER: Well, later on we'd like to talk a little more 
about Chouinard, but could you just mention some of the 
teachers you had there? 

GERRY: Yes. I think the most influential teacher I had 
was a man named Don [Donald W.] Graham, who taught drawing 
and composition. He taught from an entirely different 
point of view than most other teachers. He always talked 
about something you didn't understand. And he would either 
drive you nuts or you fell in love with him. He really 
went after the very hard, difficult things of art — if you 
want to say art--and to get students to do these difficult 
things rather than just copying or whatever, which most of 
the teachers would settle for. And he was a very-- I never 
saw any of the artwork he'd ever done himself, but he was. 



I guess, a man who was born to be teacher. He knew art 
very well, backwards and forwards, and he could teach it. 
So I learned a lot from him. 

Then there was a man named William Moore, who was — I 
think he was an interior designer by profession, but he 
taught color and design and he was a magnificent teacher. 
He had a system that was sort of based on cubism, although 
he never used the word nor did he want you to use the 
word. But a lot of it was based on cubism, and he had a 
system of understanding colors and making designs. He 
never wanted you to draw with the pencil. You always had 
to paint the color you wanted on a piece of paper and then 
cut it out and paste these pieces of paper into some sort 
of design. It was really very, very instructional. I 
learned a great deal from him. 

ZIEGLER: So that was good training for a book layout. 
GERRY: I suppose so, yes. Of course, I had had some 
interest all the time in art school in layout and 
advertising, but I never took that. I wanted to be an 
illustrator, a magazine illustrator. So I wasn't really 
ever-- Although I was still interested in printing and 
designing and that sort of thing- -and I did take some 
advertising courses--my prime interest was illustration. 
ZIEGLER: I was wondering-- The name Don Graham rings a 
bell in something I was reading about [Walt] Disney 



[Studio], Didn't he give classes at Disney later on? 
GERRY: Right. Not later on — I think it was earlier. I 
think when Walt Disney wanted to do Snow White , he felt 
that his people were not adequately schooled in drawing. 
They were more like people who had come along and picked up 
animation, and were not really very good draftsmen. They 
could move things around and be funny, but they couldn't 
draw very well. And he felt that they weren't going to be 
able to make Snow White unless he had some of his artists 
better trained. So he hired Don Graham from the Chouinard 
Art School to teach his people part-time. This was, I 
think, in the early thirties. This might have been as 
early as 1931 or '32, I believe. And Don Graham himself 
told me that it was an amazing thing for him to be thrown 
into this cartoon world. He himself had been steeped in 
the traditions of the Renaissance. That's what he loved, 
the Renaissance masters--at that time, anyway--and here he 
was in the world of animated cartoons! And he said he had 
learned more from them, probably, than they learned from 
him. [laughter] 

ZIEGLER: What would you say was his influence on the style 
of Disney Studios? Actually, we're sort of skipping all 
over the place, but-- 

GERRY: I really don't know because I was never in one of 
his classes at Disney. When I arrived at Disney in 1955 he 



was writing a book, which later came out much edited, 
called the Art of Animation . That came out around ' 57 or 
'58, and he was at the studio at that time part-time, 
working on the book in a room he had there where he had 
access to all of the Disney material. What was the rest of 
that question? 

ZIEGLER: Well, I was saying we're sort of jumping ahead, 
and maybe we can go back to your childhood and growing up 
years and so forth, and then talk more about Don Graham and 
Chouinard later. 
GERRY : Okay . 

ZEIGLER: Could you tell me some about your early 
experiences with books? Maybe things that first got you 
interested in books as works of art, and considerations of 
illustration, layout, design, all that. 
GERRY: I can't remember that I-- We always read. My 
mother [Clella White Gerry] always took me to the 
library. She always read; I always read. Although mostly 
always just novels. She liked movies and novels, and we 
were always at the library. But more, like I say, for 
purposes of entertainment. So the library was not a 
mystery to me. I was never frightened. In fact, I still 
feel more comfortable in a library than perhaps anywhere 
else. [laughter] 
ZIEGLER: Well, I'm delighted to hear that. 



GERRY: I learned to read in spite of being a bad student, 
but I had no interest in a book as a manufactured object of 
art. It wasn't until I worked for Grant Dahlstrom that I 
began to see-- He would point out things about books. And 
even though I wasn't interested in printing a book at the 
time I worked for him, I think his influences were probably 
all stored away in my mind, and when I did get interested I 
could draw on those experiences and what he had taught me-- 
I mean, without teaching. It was a work situation; he was 
not a teacher. It was just what you picked up. He was a 
book-oriented printer, I would say. Even though he would 
do a lot of commercial work, his printing instincts were 
from the book rather than from the advertising world. 
ZIEGLER: Do you remember some specific instances when he 
showed you about layout? Or when he was working on 
something and it struck you, and you think in retrospect 
that it influenced you? 

GERRY: Well, I got to be interested in printing when I 
worked for him. Although I had gone to work for him 
because I needed some money. This was during the war, and 
young people could get jobs because everybody was off 
fighting the war. The men weren't home, so boys could get 
jobs. And I could have the money which my father wasn't 
going to give me. I mean, no one's father gave them money 
in those days. The only way you got money was by working 



for it. 

So I got a job with Grant because I'd had a little 
printing experience. I had a friend in junior high school 
who worked in a local print shop, and he said, "Well, you 
could make money. You could make $8 or $10 a week in your 
part-time." That sounded very good to me, because there 
were a number of things I wanted. There was a certain kind 
of toy that I was trying to collect, and they were all 
terribly expensive and I never had any money. So when I 
went to work for Grant-- I mean, when I took my first 
paycheck I was so excited I took it to the store to buy 
this object I'd wanted. I can't remember what happened 
right now--it was either sold or it was broken or something 
had happened. But I had the money, so I had to spend it. 
So I bought a little toy printing press which I took back 
and showed to Grant. 
ZIEGLER: Did it actually work? Could you print things on 

it? 

GERRY: Oh, yes, it was a real printing press. It had 

metal type and it was a small platen press. 

ZIEGLER: About how big was it? 

GERRY: I guess the inside of the chase was 3" X 5". And I 

think he was a little astounded that he had so influenced 

me in a couple of weeks that I'd gone out and bought a 

printing press. But, anyway, I took it home and I began 



8 



to — He was throwing out a lot of type that he had 
inherited from the previous owners that he didn't like, and 
he would sell it to me for the scrap metal price. So I was 
busily getting some after-hours, setting up some type that 
he didn't want. And I took it home. I was printing at 
home in my bedroom. Scott [E.] Haselton, a publisher who 
shared the building with Grant, used to call me the 
"bedroom printer, " and he thought that was terribly 
amusing. I guess I was about fourteen, fifteen years 
old. And so whatever I printed, of course, I would bring 
it in and show Grant, and he would criticize it. So that 
was the way-- Probably his criticism of my work is the only 
example I can think of-- 

ZIEGLER: What were some of those early things you printed? 
GERRY: Oh, I suppose some silly, ephemeral things. I 
can't even remember. But he would always say, "Don't use 
so many kinds of type. Don't put so much ink on. Try not 
to have it going all over." The standard things that a 
person would tell you. I mean, they weren't standard--they 
were better than standard. That was the only time I could 
think of where he directly influenced the way I would 
work. Because in the shop the boys were not in any 
creative capacity. We swept the floor or we washed the 
presses, or we might run the little jobbing press and print 
business cards and things like that, that he didn't want to 



waste anybody else's time doing. 

ZIEGLER: And also distributing type. You have an amusing 
little essay on that. 

GERRY: Oh, yes. I also was distributing type, right. 
That was a long and arduous job, getting rid of all the 
type that had been set and used. It had to be all put back 
in the cases, and it was very tedious and tiring. 
Actually, anything I did that was creative from Grant 
Dahlstrom was kind of picked up on the sidelines. Because 
I didn't do creative work for him. So it was just sort of 
like he would say, "Here's an example of something that 
looks pretty good." Or "Why did they ruin this? Look what 
this guy did to this! He put all these ornaments on here, 
and he didn't need those." But, like I say, I must have 
picked this up indirectly, because I wasn't that interested 
in printing. I was going to go to art school I kept 
telling everybody, which of course I later on did. 
ZIEGLER: So you didn't think at that time you might be a 
printer yourself eventually? 

GERRY: No, no. It wasn't going to be my employment when I 
grew up. I was not going to be a printer, no. I mean, it 
was terrible. It was a lot of work, and it was dirty, 
[laughter] But I guess I did learn, because from then on, 
after I left Grant-- And, of course, we had contact until 
he died. For the next thirty years, I suppose, we got 



10 



together and I would show him things I did. He kind of 
came to appreciate me as a printer. I mean, for a long 
time he thought I was just, you know, doing terrible 
things. But later on, from listening to him and taking his 
comments, I got to where he almost liked some of my 
things! [laughter] 

ZIEGLER: Well, you may be overstating the case, but could 
you tell me about some of his early criticisms of your 
printing? And then some of the things he really liked? 
GERRY: Well, I don't think he ever came out and said he 
really liked anything. But he did compliment my presswork 
on a cookbook I did. 
ZIEGLER: Which was that? 

GERRY: That was called Recipes for- - Gosh, I can't 
remember. It was by-- I can't even remember the author. 
ZIEGLER: Special Recipes for Special People . 
GERRY: It was a little recipe book I printed out. I 
printed it out on a hand cylinder press, and it was very 
good presswork. I did a lot of tedious makeready and it 
came out pretty good. Vera Ricci was the author. 
ZIEGLER: Yes, I saw it at the Clark Library. 
GERRY: Maybe it wasn't really praise. It was just that he 
didn't throw it all out or tear it up or jump all over it 
for being wrong that I took to be praise. [laughter] But 
most of his criticisms were "Don't use so many kinds of 



11 



type." Also, very frequently he would point to others of 
his contemporaries and he would say, "Look at what he 
did! He did this wrong." Or "Why did he do this?" Or 
"Why did he put this type down here? Why did he use such 
small type?" Things that he personally didn't like as far 
as design goes. 

ZIEGLER: So his style was very simple and elegant? 
GERRY: Yeah. I don't know elegant, but it was simple. He 
went for simplicity and underplayed everything pretty 
much. That was the sort of man he was. He dressed in a 
very underplayed sort of way and was a very modest man, 
with modified speech. He very properly and carefully 
learned the English language and was a big stickler for the 
English language in terms of printing, how it applied, and 
had all sorts of various books on the subject. Well, I 
can't think right off of everything about Grant. 
ZIEGLER: We'll maybe talk more about him later, and of 
course anything that you think of along the way we'd be 
glad to have here on the tape. Who were some of the other 
people that worked at the Castle Press while you were 
there? 

GERRY: I mentioned Scott Haselton, who had quite a history 
in printing. There's a book on him published by Dawson's 
[Book Shop], I think, and printed by Pat [Patrick] Reagh, I 
believe, which is a little short biography [ Scott E. 



12 



Haselton and His Abbey Garden Press by David W. Davies] . 
He owned the building. He had his own plant there. He and 
Grant shared the building, and they each had their own 
printing plant within the building. And they shared each 
other's equipment, also. 

Haselton printed the Cactus and Succulent Journal . In 
fact, he may have founded the magazine. He had lived in 
the desert, because he had been gassed in the First World 
War and he had come to the desert to live. The doctors 
thought that would be better for him. And that's where he 
got interested in cactus and succulents. So he got into 
printing and moved out of the desert into L.A. , and by 
various means he learned to be a printer and got interested 
in publishing. He published quite a number of books on the 
subject of cactus and succulents. 

He'd been associated with the early printer in 
Garvanza [area of Los Angeles] , whose name I should 
remember- -Clyde Browne. He had worked with Browne and 
another woman who worked there by the name of Helen 
Sloan. She had worked for Clyde Browne. She'd done her 
apprenticeship with him in Clyde Browne's Abbey of San 
Encino Press. I believe that's what it was called. She'd 
learned Linotype from him, and she was primarily a Linotype 
operator. But she did a lot of makeup, and she did some 
small platen press work. I learned all the particulars of 



13 



printing from her. You know, the actual setting and 
distributing of it. The tedious tasks of printing I 
learned from her, whereas Grant spent most of his time 
setting the type by hand. Hand-setting the type or in his 
office or out selling. He never went out and ran a press 
or anything like that. 

ZIEGLER: How much of what they did at Castle Press was 
hand- set and how much was done on the Linotype? 
GERRY: I'd say anything that had more than two or three 
lines was set on a Linotype. Mostly just the display type 
was set by hand and headings and that sort of thing. But 
never any text. That was all done on the Linotype. Either 
by their own machine, which belonged to Scott and Grant 
merely rented time on it, or whether it was done by a trade 
typesetter. It was mostly all done on Linotype. 
ZIEGLER: Would you like to say more about how Scott 
Haselton and Helen Sloan and these other people influenced 
you, then, in how you eventually became a printer yourself? 
GERRY: Well, I would guess it would be more like I didn't 
know I was being taught. I didn't know I was learning 
anything while I was there. It was just a job. But then 
later on when I wanted to print myself, I followed how they 
did it. That was the way I'd learned, and I suppose 
someone else would do it a different way. But I pretty 
much started printing the way we had done it at the Castle 



14 



Press. And the way Haselton had done it. I wanted to get 
a Linotype and press like his, because I always thought he 
had a really good thing going for him. Not that he made 
any money, but he had this magazine, plus his other books 
he published, and he did everything except the press and 
the typesetting. Helen would set the type, and then he 
would make up the pages on the stone himself and get it all 
locked up and in the press. The pressman would run off the 
magazine. Then Scott would run it through the folder. 
He'd trim it, he'd stitch it, he'd package it, and then 
he'd mail it, all there in his shirt and tie. And I 
thought, "What a nice job. What a nice man. What a nice 
way to live your life." But I never achieved that. 
ZIEGLER: Yeah, that was entirely his own product. 
GERRY: Right. Grant always said that he made a lot of 
money, but I can't believe it. 

ZIEGLER: Do you happen to know what the circulation was of 
the Cactus and Succulent Journal ? Or approximately? 
GERRY: Well, I'm just trying to remember the piles of the 
magazines. I suppose it was probably a little more than a 
thousand worldwide. But that's a guess. I think it's 
still being published in Santa Barbara. 

ZIEGLER: Was it mainly about raising cacti? Or was it, I 
don't know, about seeing cacti in the desert? 
GERRY: It had photographs in it. I was not at any time 



15 



interested in cactus, so I can't say that I ever read it. 
But there were articles by different people, and I think 
Scott himself wrote some articles. In fact, he had a 
little cactus garden next door in another building. When 
he moved next door, it had a little patio and he had his 
own cactus garden there. So he wasn't just a guy that 
published the magazine. He really was interested in cactus 
and succulents . And then I guess he sold it . I can ' t 
remember when. He may still be alive. He moved to 
Vermont. Last time I talked to him he was in his eighties 
and he was living in Vermont, where apparently he came 
from. So for a man who was gassed in the First World War 
and wasn't expected to live very long--was told to live in 
the desert--he lasted a pretty long time! 
ZIEGLER: Yes. [laughter] 

GERRY: Let's see if there are any other people that worked 
there. House Olson came in once. He had been one of the 
original founders of the Castle Press. Before Grant 
Dahlstrom bought it, it was founded by Roscoe Thomas and 
House Olson. Roscoe put up the money and the selling 
ability and the editorial ability, and House Olson was the 
printer. He was a typographer. He also had worked for 
Browne, although I think he came from the East. He had 
worked for Browne too. But they started the shop and then 
in 1942 or '43 Grant bought it from him. It never was very 



16 



successful. It always operated in the red. They did some 
very nice work. But it was in the middle of the Depression 
when they started, and the war ended when they broke up. 
Thomas went away to be a manager at a department store, 
Nash's Department Store in Pasadena. Olson went off 
somewhere to manage a maritime-- For survivors of wrecked 
ships somewhere in South America. Which seems very 
improbable, but it didn't last too long, and he came back 
and he worked for Grant for about two weeks . That ' s where 
I met him. He ran the vertical presses there for Grant for 
about two weeks, and then they had a falling-out or 
something and he went on to do something-- Oh, no, he 
didn't go do something else. He was a printer until the 
end of his life. But he moved from printshop to printshop, 
I understand. David W. Davies wrote a book on him called 
House Olson, Printer . 

ZIEGLER: Yes, I saw that. Could you say some about House 
Olson's style as a typographer? 

GERRY: Well, he was very much a contemporary typographer 
of his day, of his time. He didn't hark back to the old 
stuff, the old style, or try to imitate some ancient thing 
like Elbert Hubbard. Even Clyde Browne was very much a 
sort of the old printer trying to revive the ancient 
William Morris-type stuff. Olson was a contemporary 
typographer working in his own time. That's about all I 



17 



can say. He was good. They did a few books at the Castle 
Press when Thomas and Olson owned it, and they're very 
nice. 

ZIEGLER: Several of these people you've mentioned had 
worked with Clyde Browne. Could you say some about his 
style and the products of the Abbey of San Encino Press? 
GERRY: Well, let's see. Browne started as a printer much 
earlier than these others I mentioned. 
ZIEGLER: Did you ever meet Clyde Browne? 
GERRY: No, he died in 1942. He had been printing since 
probably around the turn of the century, and then into the 
teens he was a Linotype operator. He worked for the [ Los 
Angeles ] Times , I think, for a long time. Then he started 
his own shop in Garvanza, which is near Highland Park, near 
Los Angeles. The old abbey he built with his own hands out 
of stone. As I say, he was what you call an antiquarian. 
He liked the past. He used great flowery language in his 
writing, and his colophons would be two pages long with 
heavy purple prose. And he called it the Abbey of San 
Encino. He fancied himself, I guess, as a monkish sort of 
printer, although he certainly wasn't a monkish sort of 
man. He did many, many things other than printing. It's 
amazing, when you read the book about his life [ Clyde 
Browne and the Abbey San Encino by David W. Davies] , the 
many things he did do. But the old building he built is 



18 



still down there at Figueroa and York [Boulevard] , or in 
that vicinity. It was his home and his printshop. His 
kind of printing was, I would say, in the style of Elbert 
Hubbard, that school of printing where they revived a lot 
of old typefaces. Although some of Browne's things were 
very nice. He was interested in the antiquity of 
printing. Oh, he did lots of contemporary printing. That 
wasn't where his fancy lay, I don't think. 
ZIEGLER: Can you name some of what you consider his best 
work? 

GERRY: You know, I can't. I saw a display of his only 
once in my life that I think Ed [Edwin H.] Carpenter had 
put together. They had it in a bookshop in Laguna 
[Beach] . And one time the Rounce and Coffin Club was down 
there and they visited this bookshop and saw this display 
of Clyde Browne's material. It was all very nice, but I 
can't tell you that I remember any one particular piece. 
ZIEGLER: Okay. Well, maybe at this point we can quickly 
summarize the things that happened to you up until the time 
you started printing again on your own. Some of these 
things we'll come back to a little later. But maybe a 
quick biography of your life from the time you left the 
Castle Press to the time you began printing again. 
GERRY: Well, let's see. I left the Castle Press and the 
war was still on. They had a plan called the "four- four 



19 



plan" for young people so that they could work at various 
defense factories or wherever they needed. I worked at the 
Castle Press. So I worked four hours and went to school 
four hours. But then, clever lad that I was, I quit Grant 
Dahlstrom and went home. And for some reason-- I don't 
know why my mother went along with this, but instead of 
telling the school that I was no longer working, I 
continued to go to school only four hours a day. The other 
four hours I took off and went to movies and such as 
that. Until finally one day they called Grant to find out 
what was going on, and I was called into the principal's 
office to find out what I had been doing since I wasn't 
working there. [laughter] But, anyway, I worked for Grant 
again many times, off and on. On summers or at nights, 
they'd have me come down and do some work. Of course, it 
was a nice source of income when I was going to school . 
Like I say, I went to Woodbury, and that wasn't too 
successful. Then I got to Art Center, which was a very 
good school. We were drafted, a friend of mine [John 
Hoernle] and I were drafted, out of Art Center before we 
even had finished a semester. And then we came back after 
the Korean War. He went back to the Art Center, and I went 
to Art Center and said, "Well, can you give me credit for 
this partial semester I put in before we went into the 
army?" And they said no, they wouldn't do that. So that. 



20 



in combination with the fact that it was a terribly long 
way away from home-- Way out in Los Angeles, way out beyond 
La Brea [Avenue], on Third [Street] I think, and I lived in 
Altadena. I decided I'd go to school closer, which was the 
Chouinard school. It was on Grand View [Street] between 
Seventh [Street] and Eighth [Street] near MacArthur Park. 
I went there, and fortunately-- It wasn't a studied choice, 
but it was certainly a lucky choice. Because I was about 
twenty- four years old, and I was old enough to understand 
some things I probably wouldn't have otherwise, because I'm 
very slow to catch on to things anyway. 

So I went there for about two years on the GI Bill. 
Oh, maybe-- It was about two years, two and a half years, 
and I began to realize that I wasn't going to be an 
illustrator. It required a lot of talent. Once the famous 
illustrator Andrew Loomis had come from somewhere and given 
this talk to aspiring young artists, and he said, "You have 
as much of a chance to be a magazine illustrator as you do 
to be a movie star!" 
ZEIGLER: Oh, how depressing. 

GERRY: Yeah, it was. It wasn't until I was about twenty- 
six that I decided I wasn't going to be able to do it. So 
what was I going to do? I could keep on going to school. 
I still had some GI Bill left. So I was talking to Grant 
again, and he said, "Why don't you come work for me and be 



21 



a salesman? A salesman meets the customers and he designs 
all the jobs, so you'll use your art school training and 
you'll have a job." Well, the idea of a salesman was 
absolutely the last thing I wanted to do. I mean, one 
reason a person likes to be an artist is because they're by 
themselves. They don't ever have to talk to anybody. 
ZEIGLER: Yeah. [laughter] 

GERRY: And to be a salesman was really — I mean, I just 
couldn't conceive of it. But he made it sound very good. 
He would help me, and he said, "There's nothing to 
selling. All you have to do is have confidence in your 
product." Well, I could do that. And he said, "Selling is 
just a matter of making a continual appearance in front of 
your public. Why, I used to know a salesman who was the 
most socially obnoxious person you would ever come across, 
that was always coming into our office, always hanging 
around. Nobody liked him, but he always got the printing 
job. They always gave him the work." So I said, "Okay. 
I'll do that. Grant." 

I went back to school and I told Don Graham, "I'm 
going to quit school and I'm going to work. A man has 
offered me a job. I'm grown up. I'm an adult now, and I'm 
going to go to work." And he said, "Oh, you can't do that, 
because you have spent all this time in art school." And, 
I suppose in parentheses, "I have spent all this time 



22 



trying to teach you something." I don't know if he thought 
that or not, but he didn't want me to do it. He wanted me 
to go on and be an artist, which was the first time he had 
ever even indicated that I should even be an artist, 
[laughter] But, anyway, he said, "You go out to the Disney 
Studios. They're hiring some people out there because of 
television. Here's this person. You call him up and go 
out there." So I called this person, and they said-- I 
mean, Disney was not the place necessarily I wanted to have 
a job. I hadn't thought about Disney since I was about ten 
years old. I put together a portfolio that night and took 
it out the next day, and they looked at it. And here I 
was. I walked into this huge-- It was like a campus. They 
had lawns and trees and people roaming around. It looked 
like a school . 

ZEIGLER: Where was the Disney Studio? 

GERRY: This was the Disney Studio on Buena Vista Street in 
Burbank. There were all these people. I must have come 
there just at break time. So I was kind of, you know, "Is 
this a place where people really work?" I was used to 
dingy old places with machinery and so-- They looked at my 
portfolio, and they called me back and said, "Yes, you can 
start at so-and-so a date." So I told Grant, "I'm not 
going to be a salesman after all. I'm going out to 
Disney." Well, his only comment was, "Well, I sure don't 



23 



approve of what he did to Alice In Wonderland ." So I said, 

"Oh? Well, gee." So I went out to work with the man who 

ruined Alice in Wonderland . 

ZIEGLER: [laughter] Do you have any general comments on 

that? I mean, Disney has taken a lot of illustrated 

children's classics and redone the pictures. 

GERRY: Oh, sure. Well, that's what he was good at, 

redoing them, putting some entertainment into them and 

making them reach a large audience. I worked at Disney for 

quite a while. But it was a very-- 

It is a very collaborative sort of work. All motion 
picture work is. There wasn't really much room for one's 
own ego to show through. You could never say, "I did this 
or I did that," because somebody else had already worked on 
it or you'd worked on somebody else's efforts. So, for 
some reason, I got back to thinking about printing, and 
it's something that I can do at home. I kept looking in 
the Los Angeles typefounders catalog. And I was telling my 
wife [Mary Palmer Gerry] about what fun it would be. We 
would have a little press in the basement and all. 

So one Christmas my foolish wife bought me a font of 
type. Her brother [Russell Palmer], who was in the 
magazine business, got from his printer a case and a 
stick. And they gave it to me for Christmas. Well, I 
started to put the type in the case. I guess this would be 



24 



in the early sixties. And I could even remember almost the 
whole lay of the case, of the California job case, and 
which compartment which letter went into. So I was all 
excited. 

ZIEGLER: That's quite an accomplishment, having tried some 
printing myself last quarter. I didn't learn the case. 
GERRY: Well, remember I had worked at it over and over and 
over. 



25 



TAPE NUMBER: I, SIDE TWO 
APRIL 20, 1989 

ZIEGLER: Okay. You were telling about how your wife gave 
you a font of type and your brother-in-law found a type 
case for you, and you remembered the lay of the case. 
GERRY: So I had to get a printing press. I went down to a 
man named Harry Lincoln, who was down on Kingsley [Drive] , 
right near Beverly [Boulevard] and Ardmore [Avenue] . Just 
off of Beverly. And he had in his garage-- He catered to 
amateur printers. He had little hand printing presses and 
he had used type. Everything for the lovely amateur 
printer. It was great. It was fun to go there. I'd go on 
a Saturday and buy this, and then I bought the press. 
ZIEGLER: How much did presses cost then? 
GERRY: This was a 5" X 8" Kelsey, and it cost $65, I 
think. It was either brand-new or it was practically 
new. I don't know what they cost today, but probably 
considerably more. Then I would buy some type from Mr. 
Lincoln and the leads and the slugs and the cases. A used 
case ran about $3 to $4 in those days. I built a little 
printshop down in the basement of our house. And it was 
fun. We did little ephemeral things--I can't remember any 
of them now- -and we did a couple of books. A little book 
[ Some Epigrammatical Notes ] by a fellow at work who used to 
write little sayings down and leave them on your desk when 

26 



you weren't looking. 

ZIEGLER: A fellow worker at Disney? 

GERRY: This was a fellow named Tony [Anthony] Rizzo. He 
was a background painter. This was at the Disney Studio. 
So that was probably the first book I did, a book of his 
sayings. Little things he had written and left on my 
desk. I did it one page at a time. And a man who was an 
animator named Lou [Louis] Appet--he later became the 
business agent for the cartoonist local [Screen Cartoonists 
Guild] . He taught me how to bind my first book. It was 
printed one sheet at a time on both sides and then it was 
perfect-bound. The edges of the pages were all glued 
together, glued to a piece of super, and then it was put in 
a case. If you pulled the pages good and hard, they would 
come right out, but it was done. It was my very first 
book. 

ZIEGLER: The librarian's joke that perfect-bound is far 
from perfect. [laughter] 

GERRY: Right. And I guess I did maybe ten copies of 
that. Then later on-- I'm sorry, I bound ten copies. Then 
later on I issued some more with a wrapper. Then I think I 
did another book--and this is all on the little 5" X 8" 
Kelsey--called The Night before Christmas . Everybody does 
that. And bound it in red. By this time, I'd bought some 
nice type. I bought Bembo narrow italic, and that's what I 



27 



set The Night before Christmas in. 

ZIEGLER: What was the font that your wife gave you? 
GERRY: Oh, she gave a font of 18-point Ultra Bodoni. It's 
a very black face. It's very thick Bodoni. It wasn't very 
practical, but I think I may still have it and may still be 
using it. For certain things it's good. So the Christmas 
book I did and bound in green enamel paper, and it had a 
multicolored title page. I think I did ten of those. I 
bound them on the dining room table. We didn't have a-- 
ZIEGLER: You wrote the forward for it? 
GERRY: I think so, yes. I guess I was getting into-- 
ZIEGLER: I remember reading an amusing forward at the 
Clark about how Clement [C] Moore wanted to be remembered 
as a theologian and ended up being remembered for The Night 
before Christmas . 

GERRY: Yes, I guess that must have been the first time I 
did that. Because almost everything afterwards I had to 
make some comment on. I did not think of myself as a 
writer at all. But then that didn't seem enough. Now, I 
was interested in book printing and I got a larger press. 
I got a Chandler 8" X 12". Some friends helped me move it, 
and I put some concrete piers in the basement and built the 
printshop around it. Our house was on the side of a hill, 
so there was room to expand underneath the house, because 
the house was empty below where the hill sloped. And so I 



28 



built — That would be the second printshop, because I had 
the bigger press and then I got a proof press, a little Hoe 
or Miles. A little cast-iron drum-cylinder press, the 
crudest kind of press, for proofs only. And I had some 
more cases of type and I bought some more type, and I was 
pretty much fixed on printing at this time. So I worked in 
that little shop for quite a while. I took the press apart 
completely and cleaned it all up and painted it. I may 
have done some other books, and then I did one about the 
platen press, which was the kind of press I had, which was 
a little jobbing press. 

ZIEGLER: Is that the one with the ground plate that inks? 
GERRY: Right. And opens and closes on your hand, or not, 
hopefully. That would be my second serious printshop. I 
was getting a little more serious now. Around 1965, we 
would visit Laguna Beach frequently. In the window of the 
newspaper when you would walk by, there was an old Linotype 
there, and I got intrigued. I wanted to get a Linotype. 
Because as a kid working for Dahlstrom, I had been 
interested in this fascinating machine that did these 
things. But, you know, I was never allowed to get near it, 
because it was a very sensitive, very touchy machine. Boys 
were not supposed to ever get near it. I mean, if Helen 
Sloan ever caught you anywhere near the vicinity of it, she 
would really give you a good chewing out. So I wanted-- I 



29 



was really interested in the mechanics of it, I would 
guess, equally as much as in the ability to set type. So 
as time progressed, I became more and more obsessed with 
this idea of getting a machine. It was coincidental with 
the time when most printers were going over to offset and 
getting rid of their hot metal equipment. 

I found a dealer by the name of Nate Freeman, who had 
a printing metal service where they serviced hot metal 
people by remelting their metal type for them and cleaning 
it up and putting it back into bars that could be made into 
more type. That was the service they offered. But on the 
side, he was also a dealer in used machinery. So I bought 
my first Linotype from him for $600, I think. It was a 
terrible lot of money. And I also bought from him a Miehle 
vertical, which could print four pages up and feed 
itself. It was an automatic job cylinder press. And I 
bought a paper cutter, and I moved it all into a building 
in South Laguna. My intention was eventually to move down 
there and have this shop. So this was my third shop. Now 
it was serious business. 

I invested probably $3,000 in all this stuff. I don't 
know how my wife went along with it, but she seemed to, for 
a while anyway. So that's when I started the Weather Bird 
Press. We would drive down every weekend. We had a house 
there, and we would go down every weekend and slave away in 



30 



the printshop. I'd print anything anybody wanted me to 

print to sort of help pay for it. 

ZIEGLER: For a while you called your press the Peach Pit 

Press. 

GERRY: Right. I think when I first started printing, I'd 

read or seen a number of articles about a guy in the East 

named Morris or "Moe" Liebowitz, who was the champion of — 

What do you want to say? Bedroom printers, backroom 

printers, amateur printers. And he had gathered all sorts 

of material from people who were changing their 

technology. He had a lot of fun with it, did amazing 

things with old type and old wooden type that people had 

given him. I forget what his press was called. I think it 

was the Bluegrass Press or something. But people had funny 

names for their presses--they all tried to be amusing and 

say amusing things. So I thought Peach Pit Press was very-- 

what?- -alliterative. 

ZEIGLER: Yeah. I like it. I like both your names. 

GERRY: But then when I went to Laguna, or when I got the 

Linotype and the bigger and larger press, I thought, "No, 

this is too serious." So we tried out all sorts of 

names. My wife came up with Weather Bird. 

ZIEGLER: How did you come up on that? 

GERRY: Well, I think — We were trying to think of names 

like the "Tide Pool," something to do with the beach. 



31 



Then, also, I had learned that Gerald Murphy, who was an 

expatriate of the twenties and a friend of Hemingway and 

Picasso, lived in the south of France and in Paris-- He had 

a yacht. And in his yacht he put Louis Armstrong's record 

of "Weatherbird [Rag]." He put this record in his yacht, 

the keel of his yacht--he so much liked the record. It 

felt like it gave him good luck or something. So when I 

remembered that, I thought, "Yeah, 'Weather Bird. ' That 

sounds good. If Gerald Murphy would do that, that sounds 

good enough for me." I mean, I didn't do it because of 

Louie. I mean, I'm a great fan of Louie Armstrong, but 

that isn't why I did it. Because "Weather Bird" sounded 

like something to do with the beach. See the birds sitting 

out there . 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, it ' s a great name, and you have a beautiful 

logo of the weather bird. 

GERRY: I never did come up with a logo. 

ZIEGLER: Oh, I thought it was sort of acting as a logo, 

just a single bird. 

GERRY: I used like a little sandpiper for a while. But I 

really don't have a logo. I keep thinking I'm going to 

design one, but I never have. Now, where did that get 

us? Up to the Weather Bird Press, right? 

ZIEGLER: Yes. 

GERRY: Shall I go on with that? 



32 



ZIEGLER: Yes. 

GERRY: In about 1968 I went to — I talked my wife into 
going down-- I wanted to live at the beach, and I was going 
to quit my job and I was going to make a successful 
printing company out of this. So every Wednesday I'd go 
out and sell, which I had no idea how to do. I would just 
go visit people. I did have one pretty good account from a 
friend who had a company that made heart valves [Hancock 
Laboratories], and he gave me a lot of business. But what 
I wanted to do was be like-- I had seen Grant and Ward 
[Ritchie] and Haselton-- They had supported their book 
printing by commercial printing. So I was going to not 
only do the commercial printing to pay for the whole thing, 
I was going to be able to do some books along with that. 
And I did. I printed more and more books. And the 
publications that I did were money-making, commercial 
printing. 

So, really, it lasted about six months. The studio 
called me and they said, "If you come back, we'll do this 
and that and make these concessions, " and so on and so 
forth. My wife didn't like Laguna, or didn't like the 
beach, and I was naturally worried that I wasn't going to 
be able to keep this thing going. So I said, "Okay, we'll 
go back, and I'll go back to work. But we're going to buy 
a house and it's going to have room so that I can have all 



33 



this equipment and have this shop in the backyard. Now, 
that's my deal." Okay. So we looked around until we found 
the house which you saw the other day. That was 1969 or 
'70. I moved in and I had a garage built and had all my 
equipment moved up from Laguna, and the press stayed there 
for another ten years. And I did it on my spare time, just 
about like today. So I worked there for quite a while in 
the shop in the backyard, which was about six hundred 
square feet. So there was room for everything. I even had 
a small horizontal cylinder press that would print a sheet 
22" X 28". I used that for a while, but it wasn't very 
good. Finally I got rid of it and got a large Vandercook 
that would print about a 19" X 25" sheet. That was my best 
press. It was a hand-operated, but it would still-- Got 
some of my best work out of that. 

Then in about 1977, I moved to Fallbrook and I built a 
house. It was a very small house with an eight-hundred- 
square- foot shop. At that time I had just retired from 
work, and I felt I had enough to just barely get by on. I 
could run my shop and do what I wanted to do! Which I did 
for about two years, and those were a good two years. Did 
a lot of work. Then I went into partnership with Patrick 
Reagh in 1980. He talked me into becoming his partner. 
Meanwhile, I had gone back to the studio a couple of times 
to pick up another grubstake. They were very good about 



34 



taking me back on projects they had. So Pat and I became 
partners--that lasted about a year. And so now all my 
equipment was divided up between Pat's and what was left 
down in Fallbrook. So I guess I rearranged another shop 
down in Fallbrook, but I remodeled the house so the shop 
was much smaller now. What had been a shop, I turned into 
bedrooms . 

Then, two or three years ago, I decided I didn't want 
to live in the country anymore. I hadn't done all the 
things I had thought I was going to do with the house and 
the property. So I gave all my equipment to Ray Ballish, 
who is a collector out at the Orange Empire [Railway] 
Museum. He came and picked it all up, the machinery and so 
on I had, and took it to a storage in Paris. He one day 
hoped to have a museum building there. So that's where the 
stuff is. I mean my equipment. I was going to give it up 
and be a painter of watercolors and not be bothered with 
machinery and printing. So that lasted about two years, 
two or three years. Ray had set it up so we could work in 
Paris. He had a little operating printshop there. Paris, 
California, down by Riverside. In case you were thinking 
it was Paris, France. 
ZEIGLER: Yeah, I was wondering. 

GERRY: So that lasted about two years, I guess. Recently, 
I built a shop again in the backyard. 



35 



ZIEGLER: So you found you missed printing? 
GERRY: Right. I wanted to get another Linotype and a 
press. There were some manuscripts that came my way that I 
was interested in. Although I haven't done them. So here 
I am again, back with a little printshop. I have a 
Washington handpress that I borrowed, and I have a C4 
typesetting machine and a few cases of type and a board 
shear and a table, and that's about it. And a large 
cabinet to hold all the miscellaneous junk. 
ZIEGLER: What are the manuscripts? 

GERRY: Well, the first thing that got me interested--and 
made me want to be a printer again- -was Jane Apostol ' s 
manuscript for the biography of Olive Percival, who was an 
interesting California book woman, who died, I guess, in 
the forties. She [wrote] a very interesting story about 
this very amazing woman, very creative and loved books. 
Spent her whole life--or I think most of her whole life-- 
taking care of her mother. She built a little house over 
in Highland Park. She worked for an insurance company all 
of her life--or the latter part of her life, thirty years I 
think--and financed all her book collecting and her house 
on her small salary. Anyway, so that was interesting and I 
wanted to do that. But then, of course, I didn't have a 
shop. 

There was an ad in the paper for a Colt ' s Armory 



36 



press, which was the kind of press I had tried to get when 
I very first started and instead I had to buy a Miehle 
vertical. But the Colt's Armory press is like a heavy-duty 
platen press, like a job press. It has a tremendous amount 
of strength. You could print four pages on it at four 
pages up and have some kind of control over it. But I 
could never find one. So that was the other thing that 
made me want to start printing again. A guy had one for 
sale, although I didn't get it. I kept thinking I would 
get one, so I was tricked back into printing. 
ZIEGLER: [laughter] Well, it sounds like it really was 
hard to give it up. 

GERRY: Yeah. Well, as Mr. Haselton always used to say, 
"You know, printing gets in your blood and you never get it 
out! Ha-ha-ha, you're going to get it in your blood one of 
these days and it will never get out." And, you know, he 
was just joking around, but he was sort of right. People 
who have ever fooled around with printing always either 
remember it with fondness or keep going back to it. 
ZIEGLER: Yes, I had a lot of fun printing here at the 
library school. 

GERRY: Oh, with Diana [Thomas]? 
ZEIGLER: Yeah. 

GERRY: They have that press, the Harmar? What's it 
called? Is it the Harmar press? 



37 



ZIEGLER: I'm afraid I'm bad at remembering names. 
GERRY: It was a handpress, wasn't it? Like this? 
ZIEGLER: I had some unpleasant experiences with the platen 
press. I had a terrible time getting that to work right 
for me. I remember reading something you wrote about. In 
South Laguna you could take a break from kicking the platen 
jobber and go out and watch the whales migrate. I really 
identified with the feeling! 

GERRY: Well, by kicking I meant-- It was a treadle 
press. It operated like a sewing machine; that's why they 
called that kicking. But they probably kick it for other 
reasons, too. 

ZIEGLER: The one I used didn't actually have to be 
treadled. But I felt the urge to kick it for other reasons 
at times! [laughter] 

GERRY: Well, printing is terribly frustrating. Like I 
say, I was ready to give it all up and get away from it. 
Just do something simple where what you needed you could 
carry in a little package in your car: some pieces of 
paper and some paints. But in order to print you have to 
have this machinery that costs a fortune to move and then 
is impossible to get rid of because nobody wants it anymore 
when you have to get rid of it. So there I am, trapped 
back into it! I've got the shop so it operates now. 
Tomorrow I'm going to start setting type on the first 



38 



project, which is a supplement to the book I printed called 
The San Pasqual Press; [ A Dream Nearly Realized ] , about the 
San Pasqual Press. Since I printed the book I found out 
more information, and I'm going to do this supplement. 
ZIEGLER: So you've really gotten to know a lot about the 
history of printing in the Los Angeles area, haven't you? 
You did the book on the San Pasqual Press, and you did a 
book on House Olson. 

GERRY: Yeah, right. I guess so, but I also think I'm 
probably more interested because of all the writing Ward 
Ritchie did about the printers of Los Angeles. If I got 
interested in it, it was because of his writing about the 
printers of Los Angeles as well as the other bookmen of Los 
Angeles . 

ZIEGLER: Well, I'd like to talk a little more later on 
about the whole Los Angeles book scene, but I wonder if now 
we could talk some about the books you've printed. How do 
you chose what books to print? 

GERRY: Oh, let's see. When I first started I could never 
find anything to print. I know it sounds strange but I 
really couldn't, other than reprinting Gray's "Elegy" or 
something like that. I mean, that was what was 
available. And so Pall [W.] Bohne--who you've probably 
heard of as a printer, although he hasn't printed anything 
for a long time--said, "Oh, you have to write your own 



39 



stuff." I said, "What! Wait a minute, I don't know how to 
write." "Well, I just wrote my book on whaling in one 
evening." And he made it sound very easy. So I forget 
what I wrote. Maybe that's when I wrote-- No. I guess the 
first thing I wrote was my experiences as a boy printer 
with Grant Dahlstrom [ Some Fond Remembrances of a Boy 
Printer at the Castle Press ] . So that was one that I 
wrote. He wanted me to write other things, but I can't 
remember right offhand any others that I wrote. I should 
have a list of the books here. 

When I choose a book, it's usually a subject I like. 
I kind of like to do cookbooks and books on printing. Or 
original things, like Jane's. I did a little booklet. Will 
Bradley , that Jane Apostol had written. I did that. That 
was original, and I would really much rather do original 
things. Then I did that M. F. K. Fisher story. The 
Standing and the Waiting , because it was a story I very 
much liked. I fantasized me illustrating it for years. It 
took years to get the rights to do it, although Mrs. Fisher 
wanted me to do it. But she had no control over the 
rights, and it was impossible to find out who had the 
rights. Then to have them sell you the rights is even 
another problem, because there is not enough money in it 
for them . 
ZIEGLER: Yes, I saw some of your correspondence in your 



40 



papers at the Clark. You were having trouble finding out 
who had the rights to it. 

GERRY: But Susan King helped me on that. She said, 
"You've got to get ahold of her agent and force him. 
You've got to be aggressive." Well, I don't think I'd ever 
called New York in my life, but she said, "You've got to 
call him and tell him. You've just got to be aggressive, 
or he'll just avoid you." So I finally got this guy on the 
phone. I couldn't believe it! It's like being in the 
Powell Library and also knowing a guy named Larry Powell . 
[laughter] Susan was right. I had to get the guy and 
twist his arm, and he finally said, "No, I don't know who 
the heck's got them, but you might try Macmillan 
[Publishing Company]." So then I finally called Macmillan, 
and once you get somebody's name, you've got half a chance 
of getting through. I learned that. So I got some help 
from Susan--and also from Herb Yellin--on how to get rights 
to publish things. Herb Yellin and the Lord John Press. 
He does nothing but reprinting of American authors' work. 
ZIEGLER: Could you talk a little about your collaboration 
with Herb Yellin? You did three or four different books 
for the Lord John Press, didn't you? 

GERRY: Yeah. I think one of the best books I have ever 
done was one for Herb. It was when I was in Laguna. No, 
no, I was in Fallbrook. I had my ideal shop attached to my 



41 



house, and he called me. He was interested in getting 
different California printers to do work for him, and he 
had--he still has--a very extensive publishing list. Every 
year, he does three or four books. So I said, "Yes, 
indeed. I will do a book for you." And that was John 
Cheever's book, a reprint of a story in the New Yorker 
called "The Day the Pig Fell in the Well." That was the 
most extensive typesetting I had done up to that time, also 
the most careful. I was very careful to make sure it was 
tightly spaced and to make the lines as tight as I possibly 
could, which doesn't give you much speed on a Linotype or 
any other way. But I think it was my best job of 
typesetting, and the whole book turned out very well. I 
bound about fourteen of those--they were special copies-- 
and Bela Blau bound the rest. That was my first 
experience. We had a lot of fun, and he liked the work 
very well. It's nice to be liked, and we didn't have any 
arguments or fights or lawsuits or anything. 

He had another book later on that he wanted me to do-- 
oh, I guess it was by James Purdy--called Proud Flesh . It 
was about six plays that Purdy had written. I think maybe 
one of them had never been performed. That's when I would 
go up to Herb's house and we would lie around the living 
room. He had another fellow who worked there named Bruce 
Francis, and we'd talk about this. Herb liked that, to lie 



42 



back and we'd talk about how we were going to make the 

book. It was very nice, pleasant. 

ZIEGLER: Yes, I saw a lot of your sketches for these at 

the Clark. 

GERRY: Oh, yeah. Well, we made the book, and I did a 

terrible title page, which I apologized to him for later 

on. I said, "I owe you a title page." But it was one of 

those title pages that I had fantasized, and drew and 

sketched and fooled around and fooled around till I 

completely ruined it. And in the end I didn't approve of 

it, although Herb didn't seem to mind it. 

ZIEGLER: What was it like? 

GERRY: Oh, it was some sort of floating drapes. Sort of 

Bermanesque drapes floating around a couple of poles that 

might suggest a theater stage or something, and then the 

type was set in the center of it. It just didn't come off 

too well. 

But then I did another book for him called Out of the 
West: [ Poems by William Everson, Gary Snyder, Philip 
Levine, Clayton Eshleman and Jerome Rothenberg ] . It was 
California poets. The endpapers were going to be a map of 
California, and it showed where every poet was. It also 
showed where the publisher was and the printer was. He 
kept wanting me to put my name on there, and I said, "I'm 
not a poet. You didn't put your name under publisher. I'm 



43 



just going to have it say 'printer,' that's all." There 
was this map in the endpapers where the different poets and 
the publisher and the printer were located. It was sort of 
cute. And the poems were very, very nice. That's when I-- 
Probably some of the first known California poets that I'd 
ever read. Set all in Janson. That turned out pretty 
good, a pretty nice job. 

I think those were the only three. Then when I was 
with Pat Reagh, Pat Reagh and I did a number of things for 
Herb together. There was one we did-- Oh, a lot of things, 
broadsides too. One broadside I think is really very good 
by Ursula [K.] LeGuin called Torrey Pine Reserve . I think 
it really turned out very well. I had been up to see a 
friend in Idyllwild, and I had my sketchbook out and I was 
drawing the pine trees. And I said, "I have this job that 
has something to do with Torrey pines." So my friend, 
wiser than I, said, "Those aren't Torrey pines! Torrey 
pines don't look like that at all!" I said, "Really? 
Heck. " So the next thing I did was go to Torrey Pines, 
which was really not too far from Fallbrook, down in Del 
Mar. I went to Torrey Pines and it was revealed to me what 
a beautiful place Torrey Pines was as I hiked through there 
and saw what the real pines looked like. So from that I 
made a linoleum cut that may or may not look like Torrey 
pines, but it looked pretty good. And that was a nice 



44 



Job. When it turns out well, you're pleased. 
ZIEGLER: How did Herb Yellin get started with the Lord 
John Press? How did he get the idea? 

GERRY: I really don't know. He was in love with [John] 
Updike. And there were so many writers named John that he 
wanted to call his press the Lord John Press for the best 
writer named John. He had published a newsletter about 
Updike for quite a while. He's a book dealer too. Herb. 
He sells books through the mail. Antiquarian and first 
editions stuff mostly. He's a great first edition 
collector. So I guess somewhere along the line, he decided 
he wanted to do some publishing. For a while he was just 
doing that, but I think most of the time he has to 
subsidize by working like the rest of us. He enjoyed 
meeting the authors, because he usually talks to them in 
person. He says he doesn't, but that must be something to 
have contact with them. Of course, he was a good friend of 
Updike's, who was his absolutely favorite writer. He has 
an extensive publication policy for, you know, a guy who 
was doing it for a sideline. So he must know every living 
American author. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, it sounds like it would be thrilling. 
GERRY: Pat and I did a number of books for [Ralph] 
Sylvester and [Stathis] Orphanos. They're Los Angeles 
publishers who also are book dealers. They also publish 



45 



the same sort of thing that Herb does, which is usually 

something like a reprint of a well-known author. Although 

they don't limit themselves to American authors. They have 

a lot of English authors, too. We did quite a few books 

for them; Pat still does books for them. In fact, I'm 

doing some illustrations for one of their books right now. 

ZIEGLER: What is it? 

GERRY: I can't remember what it's called, but it's a 

little travelogue by Graham Greene about his visit to 

China. Darn, I can't remember the title. It's going to be 

a miniature book. 

ZIEGLER: I wanted to ask you to describe the books that 

were the greatest pleasure for you to work on and that 

you're most pleased with. 

GERRY: I think probably the one I'm most pleased with was 

also my most successful book, as far as sales go, A^ 

Treatise on the Art and Antiquity of Cookery in the Middle 

Ages . 

ZIEGLER: Yes, that is very handsome. 

GERRY: Because it was all original. It was written by a 

gal [Rochelle Lucky] who was married to a fellow I worked 

with, and we got together. It was all original material 

that she'd done for a master's thesis. So she rewrote it 

for me to publish it, as we did in the little two-volume 

book. We worked a long time on it, because first of all 



46 



she had to rewrite it, and I kept thinking, "Well, she 
won't do it. People say they'll do it, but they won't." 
But not her. She really did it. But then halfway through 
she had a baby, and that held her up for some time. So the 
book was actually in the works for years before it was 
finally finished. Everybody liked it, and it sold very 
well. I forget how many we did, maybe 150 or 200. It's 
all out of print now. That was, I guess, my favorite one. 
ZIEGLER: What were some of your other favorites? 
GERRY: The one I did for Herb by John Cheever, The Day the 
Pig Fell in the Well . That, I think, came out very well. 
I think I have it written down here. Then I did a little 
book called Topography of the Castle Press, [ circa 1943, 
and Other Dim Recollections ] . I wrote that and I drew this 
map. I mean, I say I wrote it--there's probably three 
pages of type. But there was this map of how I remembered 
the Castle Press. At the time I thought it was very 
original, but I must have gotten the idea from this fellow 
who'd worked for the Woolfs, Virginia and Leonard Woolf, 
and their Hogarth Press. Because if you look-- His name 
was [Richard] Kennedy I believe. In his book of 
remembrances, he draws a map of the Hogarth Press. So that 
might be where I got the idea. I get all these ideas that 
I think are so original and discover that I've seen them 
somewhere else. 



47 



So it was a big foldout map. I was over to see Grant 
one day, and I said, "What was this part? What was 
here?" He couldn't remember. And he said, "That's kind of 
interesting. I'll tell you what, I'll print that map for 
you." Because it was so long, we figured out how wide his 
biggest press was, and it was like thirty-six inches or 
something, so I drew it to fit that size. He offered to 
print it for me, which was-- I don't know how else I would 
have done it. I would have had to pay somebody, which is 
all right too. I didn't mind that, but it was nice. It 
showed that he liked the project. He didn't think it was 
silly. He wasn't ashamed to be associated with me and this 
book, thin book- -all my books are very thin. 

So the night they were-- He had sold the press. They 
had an open house and they had all the presses going, and 
the largest press was printing these maps. They decided to 
do them that night, and it just coincidentally worked 
out. So they were printing all these maps of the old 
Castle Press down on Union Street, and, of course, this was 
the new Castle Press, which was up on Fair Oaks [Avenue] 
and was very modern and up-to-date. It had fancy presses 
and clean rooms and well-dressed employees! [laughter] So 
they must have run off thousands and thousands of that map 
that night. And people were coming around and asking me to 
sign it, and it was kind of impressive. Anyway, I think 



48 



that turned out typographically to be one of the best 

books. And also as a book of remembrances, I like it. And 

the fact that it has more-- I like books that have little 

extra things in them like foldouts or tipped-in pictures, 

that aren't just all type. And let's see, what else do I 

have here? You know, we should do this again when I have a 

list of books in front of me. 

ZIEGLER: Well, as a matter of fact, I have a stack of 

cards here . 

GERRY: Oh, really! 



49 



TAPE NUMBER: II, SIDE ONE 
APRIL 20, 1989 

ZIEGLER: So you're looking at the list I compiled of the 
books that you've printed. I know that this list isn't 
complete, so any that you want to add-- I'd be delighted to 
hear your comments on any of these and your memories of 
working on them. 

GERRY: Well, you've done really a lot of work to round 
these all up. I mean, I often think of doing this myself, 
and I never have. We talked about the topography, and you 
said that we should keep in-- I thought we should never 
talk about [Sheikh Nefzawi's] Bahloul and Hamdouna , which 
is an excerpt from The Perfumed Garden , which was a 
pornographic, or whatever, erotic tale printed by the 
Weather Bird Press for a while, for what reason I can't 
remember now. I guess I saw it as a vehicle for some 
illustrations. It was like a onetime experience. I have 
no inclination to print any more pornographic books! 
ZIEGLER: Well, but I thought it was a beautifully designed 
book. The choice of colors, the sort of glaring purple and 
the flesh-colored pink, was absolutely perfect for the 
subject! And the way you designed the letters they looked 
very-- Well, you know, they looked like what the book was 
about ! 
GERRY: Right. Well, I did enjoy doing that. The sort of 

50 



interesting way I did the cover. I covered papers. I just 
sort of took a screwdriver and just bashed a design into a 
block of pine, and then I put that in the press--type high-- 
and printed the cover papers from that. It was rather 
crude, but it made sort of an Eastern design on it. 
ZIEGLER: As I remember, the cover is sort of a floral 
design, which at the same time suggest genitals. 
GERRY: Oh, I don't know if I did that on the cover. But 
in the title page I did a design that sort of suggested 
that. And what else was I going to say about the book? 
Urn, yes, the illustrations were all cut linoleum. Well, I 
guess that's about enough for that one. Oh, I know what I 
was about to say. This was one of the first books I sent 
to the private press people, Roderick Cave, in England. 
They put out a catalog every year of the work of private 
presses, and I sent them a copy of this. And they, lo and 
behold, published the title page in their catalog, which I 
am really more impressed with each time I see the fact that 
they did that . Because now I don ' t know how I would ever 
get them to print a title page of mine. There's so much 
competition. So it was a nice title page, even I'll admit 
that. Just the subject was questionable. I did want them-- 
I wrote a book under the pseudonym of Bunston Quayles. 
ZIEGLER: Oh, that's interesting to know. I was very 
impressed with that book. Did you also do the takeoff s on 



51 



the styles of the different artists in there? 

GERRY: Right, right. I don't know how I got this idea, 

because this was another book that was in the works for a 

very long, long time off and on. It was called Miniatures 

on Modern Artists: [ Some Notes ] . I made interpretations of 

these famous artist's works. There was Modigliani, 

Matisse, Bonnard, and others. 

ZIEGLER: Right on the mark I thought. You really got the 

essentials of the different styles. 

GERRY: Yeah, and I did it without actually reproducing any 

of the real pictures, so there were no problems with 

copyright. I discovered to do other than the modern 

artists was much too difficult to do in a line technique, 

which most of those works-- Some of them are halftones, but 

most of them are done in a line technique. So I finally 

got rid of Rembrandt and some of the other older artists 

and stuck strictly with the modern artists, because it was 

easier to reproduce pictures that represented them. So 

that little book I thought was kind of cute. It was a 

miniature coffee table book. But, oddly enough, it's never 

sold very well. 

ZIEGLER: What's it like printing miniature books? Is it 

harder than printing regular books? 

GERRY: Yes, miniatures are a terrible pain. Everyone 

hates them who has to print them, except maybe those people 



52 



who are attuned. That's all they do is miniature books. 
But if you are a large printer and do large printing, to go 
down and do miniature books is difficult. Because the 
smaller you make it, the more critical everything is, and 
the binding is the worst part. It only has to be off the 
width of a pen line and it is noticeable to the person who 
looks at the book. Where a larger book can be off an 
eighth of an inch and nobody's going to notice. So it's 
all critical and it all takes little tiny fingers and 
patience. But it can be done on the kitchen table. So in 
that respect the miniatures are okay. 

ZIEGLER: Then there was another book by Bunston Quayles, 
who I now know is you, about miniature books. Printed for 
Dawson's Book Shop, I think. 

GERRY: Oh, yes, I remember that. A Picture Book of 
Chickens is a miniature book. The reason that was printed 
was because a friend of mine, who was a machinery dealer 
named Ernie [Ernest A.] Lindner, had bought a print shop 
that had belonged to a man who had published The Poultry 
Journal . I think that's what it was. And this man had for 
years and years set the type by hand and printed this 
little paper for poultry people. Finally he was too old to 
do that anymore, so he gave up the paper and he sold all 
the stuff to Ernie. And Ernie had this huge box of chicken 
cuts, and by "cuts" I mean photoengravings of chickens that 



53 



were all type high that this man had used over the years to 
print The Poultry Journal . So I said, "Hey, let me borrow 
this." And I picked through and got out the smallest and 
nicest ones I could. I said, "I'll make a little book of 
chickens out of this." Then in the library I tried to 
identify which kind of chicken was which. I'm not sure I 
was too successful in identifying the chickens, but it made 
a cute little book, now out of print. 
ZEIGLER: It did. 

GERRY: This was one Dawson's had me do, the Bibliography 
of Cheney Miniatures . William Cheney is himself a printer 
of miniature books in Los Angeles, and Glen [Dawson] had me 
do this. I think it came out pretty good. Carey [S.] 
Bliss was the one who put it all together. It was set in 
6-point Falcon on the Linotype. Setting miniatures on a 
Linotype is pretty hard because of the spacing, but it came 
out pretty well. 

Flowers on a Table: [ A Study of an Imprudent Wood 
Engraving ] , that was a silly thing. It was one of my first 
wood engravings. I just kept cutting away at this wood 
engraving till I finally ruined it, so I just kept cutting 
it away until it finally disappeared, and the last page is 
blank. So you could see it deteriorate before your eyes. 
ZIEGLER: Yes, I enjoyed that book. It was fun. 
GERRY: This was Ernest Lindner again [ The Ernest A. 



54 



Lindner Collection of Antique Printing Machinery ] . He had 
done some work for me as a dealer. I'd bought some things 
from him and he had rebuilt some matrices for me, and so 
on. So I knew him. And then in his shop in downtown L.A., 
he had this vast collection of antique printing machinery 
that he had assembled. So I said, "Say, Ernie, we ought to 
make a book about this." So in 1971 this was, I got a 
friend of mine and we got together and Ernie helped us and 
we photographed--in a number of lengthy sessions — all these 
presses and the other equipment he had and made this book, 
which I had printed offset by a trade printer. I set the 
type for it and laid it out. I think I bound most of them 
myself. 

And Rochelle Lucky, A Treatise on the Art and 
Antiquity of Cookery in the Middle Ages . We discussed that 
earlier, but that was one of my better efforts I think. 
Some of them I bound, and then later on I was rich enough 
to have Earl Gray Bindery do them. 

Louise Seymour Jones, A Tussle Mussie . This was an 
excerpt from a book that Ward [Ritchie] had printed called 
Who Loves a Garden . I just loved the way this woman wrote 
about gardens and about anything, so I got permission from 
Ward and Jake [Zeitlin], who had published it. I think it 
was a Primavera Press book printed sometime in the 
thirties. So Jake said, "Well, I think it's only decent of 



55 



you to get permission." I said, "But she's been long 
dead!" He said, "Well, here's the name of her son." So I 
talked to her son and he was very glad to let me do it if I 
would give him a few copies. And that was a nice little 
book. I did a wood engraving for that and bound it in 
cloth, a little flowered cloth I got from the yardage 
store. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, I remember seeing where you had tried out 
different patterns of cloth to see which worked best. 
GERRY : The San Pasqual Press; [ A Dream Nearly Realized ] . 
I wrote this book because David W. Davies was writing a 
number of books about Los Angeles printers and mostly 
published by Dawson's. I wanted him to do it and he died 
before I could really get him interested in it. So then I 
thought Ward should write it because he had written a 
little bit about the press earlier, and no, he wouldn't do 
it. So I kept asking around, and finally I ended up doing 
it, because I became very interested in the San Pasqual 
Press. And, like I've said earlier, the first project of 
my new press is to print a supplement to this, since I 
found out only after I printed the book that there's more 
information, which I'll include myself. 
ZIEGLER: I think all authors find that out. 
GERRY: John Gerry and His Descendants , I just did this. 
My father [Francis B. Gerry] and I did this as a family 



56 



tree, and that's about that. 

The Standing and the Waiting was a book I dreamed 
about for a long time written by M. F. K. Fisher, one of my 
favorite authors. I fantasized for years about the 
illustrations I was going to make for it. They were going 
to be pochoir stencil illustrations I'd do in watercolor. 
I made sketches and made sketches and designed the book 
over and over. Finally I talked to Herb [Yellin] and said, 
"How am I going to get permission to do this?" And so he 
was the one who introduced me to getting permissions. So I 
began to write to Mrs. Fisher, and she was enthusiastic and 
she sent me an enthusiastic letter. So I included these 
letters that she sent me, with her hearty approval of me 
doing the book, to the publishers and to the agents, and 
they did nothing. And she said, "I called the agent, I 
talked to the agent, my agent, and he would do nothing for 
me." She would tell him to do something but he wouldn't. 
There was no money involved, and I think that the final 
rights cost $600 to do the book. I finally got ahold of a 
person at Macmillan, sent them a sample of what I intended 
to do and $600, and they said okay. 

ZIEGLER: Is that a fairly common problem for small 
presses? Difficulty in getting permission because maybe 
it's not a big, money-making project? 
GERRY: I think maybe that's the reason. But they would 



57 



never answer my letters. I had to finally get them on the 
phone. I wanted to do another story of hers called 
"Feminine Ending, " which is really a beautiful sort of love 
story. So I started out again — now knowing how to get 
permission--to do this book with her letter of approval, 
and I gave up. They finally traced the people who I 
thought had the permission, but they didn't have the record 
of it. I gave up. 

A. J. Corrigan, A Sharp Criticism [ of Nineteenth 
Century Letter-Forms ] , that was another little booklet that 
I did. I had just got my first decent Linotype face called 
Fairfield, and I tried it out on that. That's still in 
print. 

Sam Davis, The Typographical Howitzer . Everybody does 
The Typographical Howitzer . It was one of my first books; 
it wasn't very good. 

ZIEGLER: That was a fun story to read. 
GERRY: Yeah. It wasn't a very good book. I bound it 
myself. The covers were much too thick, they were like 
plywood. Jane Apostol and I did this [ Will Bradley ] . I 
met her through her sister and I said, "You know, I'm 
looking for things that people have written." She said, 
"Well, I wrote this thing about Will Bradley." And since 
then she ' s written quite a few other things and been 
published all over. So we did this little Will Bradley 



58 



booklet. Grant Dahlstrom knew Will Bradley when he was out 
here — he lived in California at the end of his life and 
frequented Grant's shop--and Grant loaned me a number of 
cuts that I could use that Bradley had done for him. 

The Everyday Gourmet was a little cookbook I did for 
some friends of mine [Daniel and Betty Bailey] when I was 
going around seeking material for people to give me to 
print. I would ask everybody I knew, and they said, "Well, 
we'll do a cookbook for you." So they did. 
ZIEGLER: Did you do the illustrations for that? 
GERRY: Yes, and those were pen drawings. Usually I 
illustrate them myself, because, after all, I went to art 
school and why should I waste my free talent? I would like 
to have other artists sometimes, but usually when I try to 
get somebody to do it, they have so many reasons why they 
can't or they don't do it the way I want that I end up 
doing it myself, which is just laziness and ego probably. 
ZIEGLER: You should give yourself credit in the books 
though. 

GERRY: Oh, I think I do. 

ZIEGLER: As I looked at them, often it looked like your 
style and I thought you had probably illustrated it, but I 
couldn't find where it said. 

GERRY: "Written, directed, and produced by" is sort of 
annoying. I mean, my name's in there once already. 



59 



[laughter] 

Pall [W.] Bohne, A Unique 1824 Columbian Press . This 
was a press that Ernie Lindner got, and we had it at a 
bookfair at the Ambassador [Hotel]. Ernie was showing it 
off. It has some unique thing about it which I can't 
remember, and Pall wrote a little article and we printed 
it. That was just an eight-page booklet. 

Walt [Walter] Stanchfield is an artist I worked with. 
ZIEGLER: At [Walt] Disney Studio? 

GERRY: Yes, he's been at Disney even longer than I have. 
He moved away to the Santa Ynez Valley and did a lot of 
woodcuts. And I said, "Well, woodcuts are my medium. I 
print woodcuts. Let's do a book." Oh, I know. Then he 
said, "I have these poems I've written." And I said, "Oh, 
really. That's good." So in order to get around him and 
his poetry, I said, "Make me some woodcuts to go with the 
poetry and I'll print the book," thinking I wouldn't hear 
from him for a couple of years, if ever. And in about a 
month all the woodcuts arrived plus the poetry. I printed 
this on a handpress. It was the first time that I had used 
an Albion hand-held press that Lindner loaned me. It was a 
terrible job. It took me a whole month working about eight 
to twelve hours a day every day of the week to do that, to 
print that book . I don ' t know about handpresses . I ' ve got 
another one now. 



60 



ZIEGLER: Is it pretty hard to print woodcuts on any kind 

of press? 

GERRY: I was very lucky with Walt's. Both books of his I 

did were woodcuts that printed very well. That was just 

luck. Usually they would be — Of course, I used lots of 

ink. 

The Black Cat , Edgar Allan Poe. This was one where I 
tried to encourage another illustrator to do the 
illustration for me. It was another Disney artist. He did 
the illustrations; I had to do the linoleum cutting from 
his drawings. 

ZIEGLER: And who was that? 

GERRY: Alfred [W.] Wilson. He's now retired in Santa 
Barbara. 

Out of the West: [ Poems by William Ever son, Gary 
Snyder, Philip Levine, Clayton Eshleman, and Jerome 
Rothenberg ] . This was of California poets, published by 
the Lord John Press. I think we talked a little bit about 
that before. 

Here's another Bunston Quayles, Under Three Inches . 
That was a little — When I was working with Pat [Patrick 
Reagh] and they had a little open house at Dawson's 
[Bookshop], I just kind of whipped that out for the people 
that were going to attend this miniature bookfair. Glen 
thought it was so nice he wanted me to reprint the darn 



61 



thing. And, of course, the type had all been distributed 

on it. I really did it against my will. 

ZIEGLER: I saw a drawing that I think you did for, I 

believe, a catalog of Dawson's that showed the big fat man 

relaxing in his easy chair with the little tiny miniature 

book that he was examining. 

GERRY: Right. So far I've done quite a number of their 

miniature-book catalogs. In fact I'm working on one right 

now. 

[Edmund Routledge's] Boy's Book of Fireworks was just 
kind of a silly idea of something that was in the public 
domain. 

ZIEGLER: And you did the illustrations there? 
GERRY: Yes. [Roy Williams's] Vaporisms , that was the 
first book I printed in Laguna [Beach] using modern 
machinery, using a Linotype and the vertical press. Roy 
Williams was a Walt Disney story man, and he wrote all 
these two-liners about death and he-- Humorous two-line 
what? Couplets. And he would leave them on my desk. So I 
decided to print them and pass it around to the people. 

Special Recipes for Special People . That was the 
cookbook I couldn ' t remember by Vera Ricci . There ' s 
another person who wanted to do a miniature book. I met 
her through Pall Bohne, and they could never quite get 
around to it. She couldn't do it herself, so I said, "I'm 



62 



interested in doing a book." She said, "Oh, good." She 
sent me about fifteen hundred recipes for a recipe book. I 
said, "I cannot do fifteen hundred recipes." Try to whip 
it down to ten or twelve." Or how many are in the book. 
So she did that and she was really nice to work with. Wore 
her out doing the proofreading. 

Carey Bliss called me when I was in Fallbrook to do 
some books for the Zamorano [Club] get-together in '78. 
One of them was I Remember Robinson Jeffers by Ward 
Ritchie. That was done in my shop in Fallbrook, and I 
think they were all sewn by hand. Could I have sewn them 
all by hand? I think I did. I did it in Electra type, 
which is one of the types Ward had used. I tried to force 
a certain design I liked. I tried to force it on this job 
over and over. I tried to force this design I'd seen in 
this book I thought was so swell, and it wouldn't fit. So 
I ended up with what I got. 

Grant Dahlstrom, Master Printer: A Tribute on His 
Seventy- fifth Birthday . This was a secret book that Jake 
didn ' t want anybody to know about . 
ZIEGLER: As a surprise for Grant? 
GERRY: As a surprise. I printed it in secret in 
Fallbrook. I was on the spot. I really felt that I was on 
the spot, because I was the one who had once been Grant's 
apprentice. His printer's devil was now going to print 



63 



this book as tribute to him on his seventy-fifth 

birthday. I really felt on the spot. But by restraining 

myself and not putting in all the different types that I 

had, as he had told me not to, and not putting too much ink 

on the type, as he had told me not to, it came out pretty 

well. I think he was pleased. 

ZIEGLER: Did you do the patterned paper for the cover of 

that? 

GERRY: Right. I did that on a linoleum cut, and then I 

repeated it and pasted it up and I had a local printer print 

the covers offset. Mel Kavin bound it at Kater Crafts. 

Grant Dahlstrom at Seventy- five; More Tributes . Jake 
Zeitlin claimed that the article Ward had given me for 
Grant Dahlstrom, Master Printer: A Tribute at Seventy-five 
was not the article that he had intended him to give me. 
So for the Zamorano get-together, Jake printed this, which 
he said was the correct article that Ward should have given 
me. It was printed by the New Ampersand Press. It was a 
booklet that Dawson's and Jake, I think, contributed 
towards . 

ZIEGLER: Tell me about the New Ampersand Press. 
GERRY: That was a joke of Jake's, because Grant had had 
his private press called the Ampersand Press for years, and 
one day Grant discovered somebody else had an Ampersand 
Press. So whether there was a battle or whether Grant just 



64 



dropped out and didn't have the Ampersand Press anymore, I 

don't know. But Jake thought that that would be a joke. 

And the book. Grant Dahlstrom, Master Printer; A Tribute on 

His Seventy-fifth Birthday was also by the New Ampersand 

Press. It was an inside joke of Jake's. 

ZIEGLER: And somewhere I saw a logo for that, a very 

elegant ampersand. Did you do that logo? 

GERRY: Was it on the title page? Did it have a little 

border around it? 

ZIEGLER: I don't actually remember now. 

GERRY: I know I had one on the title page. Helen [ Slater ] 

Dahlstrom [ 1905-1985: Memorial Addresses Given August 30, 

1985 ] . This was a memorial that they asked me to print. I 

printed it damp on very thin paper, and it didn't back up 

very well. It was what various people had said. Jake had 

said something at her funeral, and Mrs. [Helen Carter] 

Brown had said something. There were a few other people 

there, and it was just their tributes to her. 

Mark Nicoll- Johnson, he's a poet and a distant 
relative of mine. So I printed a poetry book for him [ 3 X 
3; Nine Poems from Los Angeles ]. I published it. 

Marion Kronfeld, Designs Cut for Plantin Press 
Calendars, 1941 to 1946 . This also is what I figure is one 
of my major publishing efforts. How it came about-- Oh, I 
met her through Mrs. Ricci and I went to visit her. She 



65 



showed me some of the work she'd done for the Plantin Press 
without me even asking. I don't know why. Then I talked 
to Mrs. Marks, Lillian Marks of the Plantin Press, and she 
said that she still had a lot of good cuts that Marion had 
cut in linoleum and had cut in wood. So I got the idea for 
the book, and I got Mrs. Marks to approve and got Marion to 
approve all the cuts. Marion Kronfeld still had the 
original calendars. You know, calendars are the first 
things you throw away, right? On January 1. But she still 
had kept them because she had done the artwork for them. 
So I was able to reproduce from those the cuts that had 
been lost. And I did this book of her artwork. It's still 
in print. It never sold very well. I thought that if 
anybody had been interested in the Plantin Press they'd 
want that book. Still have quite a few for sale. I 
thought it was one of my best efforts. 

Gladys Taber, Stillmeadow Christmas . She was a 
woman's magazine writer. My wife [Mary Palmer Gerry] liked 
cocker spaniels and Christmas, so it was like a Christmas 
card. 

ZIEGLER: Did you do the illustrations for that? 
GERRY: Yes. I think there was a dog running in that with 
a piece of ribbon in its mouth. I think it was a wood 
engraving . 
ZIEGLER: I really liked that. 



66 



GERRY: Type . Vance Gerry, the Weather Bird Press. That 
was from part of my selling efforts of making the press a 
commercial enterprise by having a type book, which I took 
around and gave to various advertising people in Laguna. 
Nobody was ever interested. 

Restful Reading [ for Young and Old, Designed to Banish 
Care and Alleviate Cynicism, Decorously Illustrated with 
Cuts ] . That was just a sort of foolish bunch of linoleum 
cuts I did of some nineteenth-century poems for kids. Like 
taking excerpts from nineteenth-century kids' books, 
children's books. 

Distributing Type or the Just Art of Throwing In . We 
talked about that when I worked as an apprentice. The 
tedious time I'd spent distributing type. I printed that 
for the Rounce and Coffin Club in 1975. And it had some 
drawings. I'd seen a lot of-- At that time I first became 
interested in Edward Ardizzone, the English illustrator. I 
was trying to emulate him. It's best to try to be 
yourself, because I couldn't! No matter how hard I tried I 
couldn't be like Edward Ardizzone. So they ended up the 
way they are . 

That's [J. P. Devine's] Gatsby, No Show Dog, Found a 
Home in Hollywood Anyway . Jake kept saying that this was 
his last publication, and it may well have been. It was 
for the Zamorano or Roxburghe Club meeting. It was a story 



67 



that appeared in the newspaper about this dog that roamed 
on La Cienega Boulevard, I think. 

ZIEGLER: Who did this silhouette of the dog behind the — ? 
GERRY: I'm trying to think if I did it, but I don't — I 
think Jake had that from somewhere. We had an offset 
printer print that, overprint that. No, he printed it 
first, then Pat printed the type on top of that, I think. 

A Letter from Mark Twain concerning the Paige 
Compositor . A fellow I worked with was nuts about Mark 
Twain. He showed me a book of his letters. And in this 
book I found this one about how Twain was enthusiastic 
about this typesetting machine he had been investigating 
for years and years. 

ZIEGLER: He went broke on that didn't he? 
GERRY: Right. 

ZIEGLER: Because that was the new technology that didn't 
take off. 

GERRY: Right, right. I had some new type called De Roos 
I'd purchased, and I wanted to try it out. So I did this 
for the Rounce and Coffin Club, and it was not too bad. 

The English Box Hose Common Press was something that 
I'd printed for Ernie Lindner to have at a bookfair where 
he was showing off a facsimile press he had had made out of 
wood. I think it had been made in England. It was a 
wooden press that would really print. This was just 



68 



telling something about his press. I had poison oak all 
over me when I did that job, and it was very difficult. 

Sydney Smith, A Recipe for Salad; [ A Rhyme ] . This was 
the poem Sydney Smith wrote about salad. I did my first 
food and drink-- And I got the idea to do a whole series. 
The whole series has only gone up to six. 
ZIEGLER: I wasn't sure if I'd seen the whole series. 
Could you just briefly name the items? 

GERRY: Oh, let's see. There was salad. And then I did 
one which was by Ford Madox Ford. A little excerpt from 
one of his books about eating a sandwich in the front lines 
in World War I [ Sandwiches and Coffee ] . And then I did two 
on wine, California wines [ Mission Grapes and Zinfandel 
Grapes ] . Elva Marshall did some etchings which are pasted 
in. The sandwiches has a pochoir illustration. And then I 
did two others by Dela Lutes--Dela Lutes was a food 
writer. One was called Vegetable Soup and one was called 
Plum Pudding . And it had the recipe and told you a little 
something about it. So that's all I can remember. 
ZIEGLER: What about the one on chili [ Chile: Being a Texas 
Recipe ] ? And there was one on borscht [ Borscht: Being a 
Russian Recipe ] . 

GERRY: Oh, I keep thinking I'll do another one on chili. 
But those were done much before, just sort of ephemeral 
stuff to hand to your friends. 



69 



[William Bradford's] The First Thanksgiving , that was 
just something to hand out to my friends at Thanksgiving. 
Just a project for printing a piece of ephemera. 
ZIEGLER: Did you do the illustration there? 
GERRY : Yes . 

ZIEGLER: Was that a linoleum cut? 

GERRY: Right, linoleum. Of the pilgrim with the 
cornstalk. I may have had some new type I had wanted to 
try out too, I'm not sure. 

Chile: Being a Texas Recipe , that was a piece of 
ephemera. There was a fellow [Danny Alguire] I worked with 
who was a Texan. He and his brother would continue to 
write back and forth to each other about how to make 
chili. And my friend that I worked with named Vasily 
Davidovich told me about borscht and how borscht was, you 
know, Russian. Borscht was not like Jewish borscht--this 
was different. It was Russian borscht! And he had to keep 
emphasizing it. So all right, give me the recipe! So I 
took it home. I said, "Well, it's just vegetable soup." 
But it was good vegetable soup. 

Selected War Poems of Wilfred Owen . This is where I 
had a friend [Dale Barnhart] of mine, an artist, and I said 
we should do something. He had been away and came back and 
we made contact. And I said, "We should do something 
together." He was a good artist. He could do linoleum 



70 



cuts, and he had done a lot of prints just with linoleum. 
So I said, "What should we do?" And he said, "Remember all 
those drawings I did about Wilfred Owen during the Vietnam 
War?" He had made a lot of drawings illustrating the poems 
of Wilfred Owen. I said, "Oh, sure, but we've got to have 
them on linoleum. I can't reproduce the drawings." "Okay, 
I'll cut them." So he adapted these drawings that he'd 
made to linoleum, and I set the poems. I got the 
permission from whoever has the permission to do Owen's 
poems, and Pat Reagh printed it for me. A large- format, 
expensive book sells for $135. A tour de force, bound by 
Bela Blau, and I have lots of them left if anybody is 
interested. 

ZIEGLER: The printing of the illustrations looks like it 
must have been very complicated, because it's in several 
colors, and so they have to go through the press several 
times and be lined up each time. 

GERRY: Yes, and the amount of ink it took was amazing. 
They had to slip-sheet them. 



71 



TAPE NUMBER: III, SIDE ONE 
MAY 4, 1989 

ZIEGLER: Okay, it's May 4, and we're here for the second 
interview with Vance Gerry. He has before him the list 
that we've put together of the books he's printed. And I 
wonder if you could go on conunenting on the books there. 
GERRY: Sure. This is Izaak Walton. It's a poem from 
Walton's The Complete Angler , "Piscator, and the Angler's 
Wish." It was just a small, little tiny pamphlet I hand 
set in Deepdene one time. I was waiting for an electrician 
to come, and he never came. I got this done, as a matter 
of fact, because of that. That was in '67. It was just a 
very small pamphlet. 

ZIEGLER: Is that typical of the way you do printing 
projects? That you sort of do it when you're waiting for 
something or have some spare time like that? 
GERRY: Yes. But I think that particular one was just to 
fill the time while I was waiting around for him. 
ZIEGLER: Are you especially fond of fishing yourself? 
GERRY: No, I was just interested in the book, because 
people had talked so much about Walton's book. And I had 
read it, and it was sort of a peaceful thing. But I don't 
know anything about fishing, nor do I fish. 
ZIEGLER: I've never read it, but I've heard that it's a 
lot of fun to read. 

72 



GERRY: It's sort of a peaceful book. Or, as it says in 
its title, a contemplative book. Now, this Housman was 
another little poem that I set, probably hand set, just for 
fun. With Rue My Heart Is Laden , by A. E. Housman. And it 
was not much of anything. Fiona Macleod in The Hour of the 
Rose was taken from-- William Sharp was the author, who 
could apparently only write under the name of Fiona Macleod 
and wrote very colorful nature things. This was actually 
pointed out to me in a book by Clifton Fadiman [ Reading 
I've Liked: A Personal Selection Drawn from Two Decades of 
Reading and Reviewing ] , the excerpts from his [Sharp's] 
writings. And I did that one printed in large Janson, 24- 
point Janson. I barely had enough to print one page at a 
time. And it only had three pages, I think. I did it in 
Pasadena in 1973. I bound it in sort of a plaid, a gray 
plaid cloth. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, that was very nice. 

GERRY: I thought it was kind of a nice little thing, but 
not of much importance. Walt [Walter] Stanchfield was a 
fellow artist that I worked with at the [Walt] Disney 
Studio. He did a lot of woodcuts. I mean real woodcuts on 
the side of a pine board, not to be confused with wood 
engravings . These were genuine woodcuts . He was a darn 
good artist. So I said, "Give me some cuts, and we'll make 
a book out of them." And so I did. I think we only did 



73 



thirty- five copies. I did it on a Vandercook proof 
press. He was at that time retired from the studio. So I 
went up to see him at his studio in Solvang, and he signed 
all the books for me. There were, I think, thirty- five 
copies. It was a large format. It was the very first book 
I ever got into the Western Books [Exhibition]. And it was 
argued that it wasn't really a book; it was only a 
portfolio--even though it was bound- -because it didn't have 
any text. But Saul Marks stood up for me, and I got the 
book in after all. 

ZIEGLER: It seems that they define books even much more 
loosely than that nowadays. I saw the recent Western Book 
show on display here, and there was quite a variety of 
things, portfolio-type things and almost sculptural 
bindings. There were one or two examples that were like 
that. 

GERRY: Yeah. Even school catalogs can qualify, or have at 
one time or another. But this was an example of how I 
tried to do something original by an original artist. And 
I printed directly from the blocks he cut. Now, let's see. 
Some Fond Remembrances of a Boy Printer at the Castle 
Press , written by myself. This was kind of the first 
experience I'd ever had of trying to write something. And 
I wrote my memoirs of working with Grant Dahlstrom in 1943 
at the Castle Press. I tried to remember the people who 



74 



worked there and what they had done. It's mostly little 
anecdotes about things that happened, what I could 
remember. I printed it in 1968. I set it in Caslon on the 
Linotype and took it to show Grant one day after I ' d 
finished. I think I'd done about twenty-five, maybe fifty, 
copies. I don't know if I'd done that many. I showed it 
to Grant, and he sort of approved of it. He thought it was 
kind of good, but he kept trying to read it while I was 
there. So I could tell he must have at least been 
interested in what I was going to say. 
ZIEGLER: Yeah. [laughter] 

GERRY: So he talked apparently to Glen Dawson, and Dawson 
called me up. He said, "Do you have any more of those 
books? I want to sell some." So I was actually a printer 
who was going to sell something he'd printed. I was really 
quite honored. 

ZIEGLER: So, then, this is the first book that you sold 
and the first contact that you had with Dawson's [Book 
Shop]? 

GERRY: Right, this was the first contact that I had with 
Dawson's. And I've worked with them ever since. Very good 
to printers, the Dawsons [Glen and Muir] . And some few 
months later Peggy Christian — she was a book dealer- -wrote 
to me and she said, "Are there any more of those books 
available? I've heard about them." I said, "No, but if I 



75 



printed a second edition, would you be interested?" And 

she said, "Oh, sure." So I printed a second edition of 

about fifty copies. So it exists in two ways. 

ZIEGLER: What changes did you make in the second edition? 

GERRY: I think I added the story of Grant Dahlstrom and 

his big green Packard car. And I tried to correct my 

misspellings and so on. You can tell where the corrections 

are because I had monkeyed around on the machine, and so 

the corrected lines, set on the Linotype, are a little 

narrower than the existing lines. So that's a dead 

giveaway. And I didn't make all the corrections I should 

have anyway . 

ZIEGLER: Who's Peggy Christian? 

GERRY: She was a well-known Los Angeles book dealer. A 

friend of Jake [Zeitlin]'s, a friend of the Dawson's. I 

didn't know her very well. I don't think I'd ever been to 

her shop, but she was very respected. 

ZIEGLER: Is her bookshop still in existence? 

GERRY: No, she died a couple of years ago. [looks at 

list] Oh, these were just proofs you saw. 

ZIEGLER: Yes. For these I didn't actually see the printed 

book. It wasn't at the Clark [Library]. All I saw was the 

proofs or the layout. But I'd like to have you talk some 

about the completed book. 

GERRY: Sure. Okay, this was called Poems , by Teri 



76 



Ryland. She was the girlfriend of a man who I worked with 
at the studio. He talked me into doing it, and I did it. 
It was a very small, little pamphlet of some poems. Very 
insignificant. I did it because I was trying to make my 
own shop pay for itself. 

H. Richard Archer, secretary-- This was called, A 
Glimpse of the Past from the Minutes of the Rounce and 
Coffin Club , printed for members on the club's fiftieth 
anniversary. Ty [Tyrus] Harmsen of Occidental [College] 
had-- Ty Harmsen got the book of minutes written by Richard 
Archer and culled out some of the most amusing things. 
Archer was a very amusing minute keeper of the Rounce and 
Coffin Club. And I printed those up for the fiftieth 
anniversary. I did this while I was with Pat [Patrick] 
Reagh in 1981, and I think it was printed on the 
vertical. I set it on the Linotype machine-- Janson. 
ZIEGLER: I've read some wonderful anecdotes about the 
Rounce and Coffin Club. It sounds like that group has so 
much fun together! 

GERRY: Yeah. Well, Ward [Ritchie] has written a lot of 
things that make it seem like that. Certainly in their 
day, when Ward and Grant and the big three were all going, 
they had a lot of fun. The minutes that Archer kept are 
very amusing. The times, the good times that they had. We 
don't do much anymore, in that way, at the Rounce and 



77 



Coffin. 

ZIEGLER: Oh, well, that's too bad. 

GERRY: To concentrate on the Western Books Exhibition is 

our main function now. 

A Visit from Saint Nicholas by Clement [C] Moore. I 
did that as a little Christmas booklet. It was done in 
1966, hand set in Bembo narrow. I think I did seven or 
eight copies for it, just to be printing something. I did 
that in Pasadena, in the print shop I had in the basement. 
ZIEGLER: So this is a real bibliographic rarity! 
GERRY: Oh, I guess so. I don't — It wasn't — It's hard to 
say. I'll leave that to the bibliographers. Mary 
Elizabeth , this was a little thing I did for the relatives 
of my niece when she was just a little kid. It was just 
this silly thing, but the relatives loved it. 

Christmas at Manor Farm , excerpted from The Pickwick 
Papers . Yeah, that was a Christmas card done in the form 
of a small, little book. 

ZIEGLER: As I remember, there was a delightful drawing in 
that of a thin man and a fat man standing by the fireplace 
holding glasses of some sort of liquor. 
GERRY: Right, right. 
ZIEGLER: You did that? 

GERRY: I did the illustrations. They were line drawings 
made into photoengravings. And I suppose-- No, I think 



78 



that was before I discovered [Edward] Ardizzone. But I was 
doing the Crosshatch pen-and-ink-type drawings. And that 
little drawing came out pretty good. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah. I seem to remember seeing the same drawing 
in some Rounce and Coffin Club stuff. Do you remember it 
being used by the Rounce and Coffin Club later? 
GERRY: Yeah, we used it for an announcement of some event 
that we were going to do. I can't remember which one. And 
somehow I got the assignment to print the announcement. I 
did it at Pat's. And, of course, Pat had all those cuts 
stored and cataloged. So it was very easy to find, and it 
seemed to fit the occasion. 

Now, A Book of Poems; Cruachan by Baxter Sperry. 
Baxter Sperry was a woman I'd known in the army, and she 
was a writer. She contacted me many years later and wanted 
to do some printing of her own, and so I sort of helped her 
a little bit. Only by mail. I never actually saw her 
print shop, I don't believe. 

ZIEGLER: She has her own press, the Laurel Hill Press, 
doesn't she? 

GERRY: Right. And she, just a few years ago, was 
instrumental in getting the two of us a joint show at the 
[California] State Library of our work. She apparently 
pestered them into showing us off. And there she showed 
some of her better works. She never became a very good 



79 



printer, but she — The best things she did were the 
drawings she made of old buildings around Sacramento and 
that area, with the history of them. Then she hand-colored 
them and put them in books or sold them separately as 
prints. They were really very beautiful. I mean, they 
were kind of naive, but when you saw them all together in 
the show, they were terribly impressive. So this was a 
book I'd done for her in 1966 of her poems. I can't 
remember why I did it. Or maybe she paid me for it. I 
don't think there were too many, maybe thirty copies, maybe 
less than that. And it was bound in a cloth which I got at 
the yardage store and set in narrow Bembo. Not a bad 
job. A perfect job of perfect binding, and the pages are 
probably all falling out by now! 

Bela Thandar, that was an anagram. And the title of 
the book was The Last Time I Dined with the King . It was a 
book of limericks that we'd found in Playboy . And one of 
the artists at the studio, whose anagram was Bela Thandar- - 
ZIEGLER: Who was Bela Thander? 

GERRY: Bela Thandar was Dale Barnhart. He had made these 
illustrations for these filthy limericks. I cut them in 
linoleum. I think we sold it to a few members of the 
studio, probably did twenty copies or twenty- five copies. 
ZIEGLER: Oh! I never got to see the completed one of 
that. I just saw the proofs of the limericks. I never saw 



80 



any illustrations. 

GERRY: I wonder if I even have a copy myself. But I think 
it was limited to about twenty-five copies. I was still 
doing everything on the kitchen table then. 

[Some] English Christmas Customs by Dorothy Spicer. 
Another excerpt from some writings of Dorothy Spicer. It 
was a Christmas card for 1979. Yeah, that one you have 
there. It has a linoleum cut and two wood engravings, all 
of which I thought were fairly successful. 
ZIEGLER: Yeah, they are. I'm looking at the book right 
now. Could you tell me which is the linoleum cut and which 
are the wood engravings? 

GERRY: The birds in the middle of the book eating the 
seed--that was a linoleum cut. And then the bundle of 
twigs on the title page was a wood engraving. It was set 
in Granj on- -small Granjon, 8 to 10 point. I can't 
remember . 

ZIEGLER: And then, also, this of the cake and-- 
GERRY: That was a wood engraving. It was primarily a 
Christmas card. It exists today because I must have 
thought I had more friends than I did, because I still have 
about twenty- five of them. 

ZIEGLER: How did you do the cover paper for this? Is it 
type ornaments of a Christmas bell, and then you just 
repeated the design? 



81 



GERRY: Yeah, I think I'd actually cast those types on my 
Thompson typecaster myself. So I was able to cast enough 
to fill enough paper to make a cover. 

ZIEGLER: Do you often cast type ornaments for yourself? 
GERRY: No. I had always thought I would some day design 
my own typeface and cut it and cast it. And I bought an 
old Thompson with that in mind. The most I've ever done 
with it is to cast some Linotype decorative material from 
Linotype matrices. I really haven't used it very much. 
ZIEGLER: What are some of the ornaments that you have 
cast? I might have seen them. 

GERRY: Well, they were all from Linotype mattes, so 
they ' re in the Linotype catalog . I think I bought some 
directly from Linotype, and then a lot of them sort of came 
with the machine. The machine had been owned by some Los 
Angeles typefounder who cast nothing but Linotype material, 
including type from Linotype mattes. So I really haven't 
done much with it. I gave up trying to be a typefounder 
because I was unsuccessful in making the punches. I 
couldn't quite figure out how to do that correctly. 
ZIEGLER: Do you ever think you might try it again 
sometime? 

GERRY: No, I've discovered a cutter, a matrix engraver in 
India called Experto. They sent letters around to everyone 
they knew who had a typecasting machine. They would be 



82 



glad to make the mattes from your drawing. So that is kind 
of a cop-out, but it's much easier to make the drawing from 
which they will make me a matrix than for me to try and 
file out a punch and press it into an aluminum matrix. So 
you see, I've sort of become lazy. 
ZIEGLER: Did you say in India? 
GERRY: Yes. 

ZIEGLER: Do they do a lot of that in India? I never quite 
realized-- 

GERRY: I guess some of the technology of the West that we 
no longer use is sort of passed into the hands of the Third 
World, and in the Third World they do a lot of it. I guess 
India's part of the Third World. They still do a number of 
technologies which we don't do here anymore. That just 
happens to be one of them. But they still use a great deal 
of letterpress printing in India and Africa. 

Audrey Arel lanes, a keepsake for the Bookplate 
Collectors Society. That was a commercial job I did for 
Audrey, who is president of the Bookplate Collectors 
Society. I can't remember much about it unless that was 
the one that had greetings in many different languages. I 
can't remember. I did a couple of things for her. 
ZIEGLER: Yeah, I remember seeing keepsakes for several 
different years for that society. I don't know if I got 
them all in the stack of cards. There were quite a few 



83 



things I didn't realize I had missed in making the cards. 
Could you tell me a little bit more about the society? 
GERRY: Apparently it goes back to the twenties, or maybe 
earlier. Audrey took over managing the club, which is an 
international club--I hope I'm getting this right--for book 
collectors. It's for people who make bookplates as well as 
for people who collect bookplates. Their subject is 
bookplates, period. She puts out a yearly book which is a 
beautiful job, in which she tips in herself many examples 
of bookplates. It's sort of really an annual. Then she 
does a newsletter that comes out I think once a month, or 
maybe quarterly--I 'm not sure- -concerning bookplates. 
Bookplates in the News this book is called. And she still 
runs the society from her kitchen table. I've seen her 
working there many times, tipping in those bookplates. I'm 
not sure what the membership is. Five hundred people or 
more . You ' d have to ask her . 

ZIEGLER: Is she one of your neighbors in Pasadena? 
GERRY: I think she lives in San Gabriel, but she's a 
member of the Rounce and Coffin Club. She's had me do work 
for her off and on for many years now. Whenever I have a 
print shop and she and the society have some money, then we 
get together. 

Four Common Plants: Linoleum Cuts and the Text 
Describing Oleander, Plumbago, Wild Cucumber, and Yarrow . 



84 



I printed that in 1978, and it was my first herbal, would 
you call it? I engraved these plants I found in the 
backyard and cut them into linoleum and printed them. It 
took me a number of years just to do four of them. 
ZIEGLER: I'm sorry I didn't see the completed book. It 
looked like they were beautiful engravings of the plants, 
judging from the prints. 

GERRY: One I tried to do in two colors didn't come out too 
well. The others, just printed in black, are not too 
bad. I'm kind of proud of them. It took a great deal of 
time to get it done. And I bound it in wrappers, and 
probably only fifty copies, I think. 

ZIEGLER: I forget. Did you write the text on that, also? 
GERRY: The text I borrowed from different sources. I 
confess, I didn't write it, no. 

ZIEGLER: How many herbals would you say you've done? I've 
seen several. There was Four Weeds . And then you 
mentioned that you're going to work on one soon called 
Seaside Plants . 

GERRY: Yes. And my Seaside Plants book will be more 
ambitious. I hope to do about sixteen plants and cut them 
in linoleum. First I was going to try lithography, and I 
couldn't get that to work. I had already done the etchings 
of Four Weeds . So I thought, "Well, I'll go back to 
linoleum, because I feel more secure with linoleum. And 



85 



maybe kind of take some cues from Henry Evans and how he is 
able to get the plant without a lot of-- Within two colors, 
or so, he could get the whole thing. And I was hoping I 
could discipline myself enough to do something similar. 
Evans can capture the plant, and you can say the plant is 
authentic — it's just not an artist's dream. He can do it 
in two colors. So that's pretty ambitious of me to think I 
can do that, but I'm going to try. And in this case, I 
don't think I'll write it. I think I'll get the botanist 
Charles Leland Richardson, who wrote Four Weeds for me. 
Richardson is a botanist, but he has always worked in the 
motion picture business because he hopes to get rich enough 
to afford to become a botanist. But he's very good. He 
likes the subject, and he's just right for my sort of 
work. So I think he'll do this Seaside Plant book for 
me. I'll do the cuts. 

And then we have Edward Ardizzone, On the Illustrating 
of Books . That was one of my more recent books. It was an 
article printed in [ The ] Private Library journal. It was a 
small article, and Ardizzone talked about himself as an 
illustrator. And I thought, "I like Ardizzone. This is 
just the right size for me to make a small book." Tricking 
myself by believing the job is going to be easy because 
it's going to be small. I'm always a sucker for taking on 
projects because I think they're going to be easy, and they 



86 



never are. Anyway, it turned out to be a very successful 
book. I got permission from Ardizzone's agent for the 
article as well as the drawings. One of my better books, I 
think. 

ZIEGLER: And you were saying you especially admire 
Ardizzone as an illustrator. 

GERRY: Right. Yes. I have many times tried to copy 
Ardizzone's style. Unsuccessfully, but I've tried. So 
yes, I do admire him a lot. 

ZIEGLER: When did you first discover Ardizzone? 
GERRY: Oh, I suppose I had always seen his work. But one 
time at a bookfair, I think in '74, one of the dealers had a 
complete set of Ardizzone's illustrations for the Cambridge 
[University Press] book called A Stickful of Nonpareil [by 
George Scur field] about the adventures of a young man, the 
remembrances of a young man, at the Cambridge press. He'd 
done the illustrations. They were all concerning the 
printshop and the young fellows working at the printshop. I 
thought I would like to have them, but they were too 
expensive, I thought, then. But, anyway, that's when I 
really became interested in Ardizzone, at that point. 

Pasadena centennial map, that was done for the 
Pasadena centennial. I think that was a Junior League 
job. The Junior League had me do the map because somehow I 
had gotten a reputation as a mapmaker because of the little 



87 



book I'd done called Topography of the Castle Press, circa 
1943, [ and Other Dim Recollections ] . Now everyone came to 
me thinking I was a map drawer. I wasn't really. I just 
learned by doing. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, well, you do do wonderful maps. You say on 
them they're not navigational maps, they're not to scale. 
But they're beautiful and they're entertaining. I saw a 
map that you did, "A Bibliophile's Map to Los Angeles" or 
something like that. 

GERRY: Yes, I did that with John Bidwell, who probably was 
the one who said, "Oh, you know how to draw maps because 
you did the topography map of the Castle Press." So I said 
okay. Then we decided which items we should put in. Like, 
for instance, UCLA ought to be in there because that would 
be of interest to international bibliophiles. And we put 
in museums and colleges. Anything we thought might be of 
interest. Also places where the international bibliophiles 
were going to, such as the ranch up there up near Ojai 
[Rancho Mi Solar] --they were going to visit this ranch for 
a barbecue- -and this hotel they stayed in. So it came out 
pretty good. Although Pat always complained that I hadn't 
drawn it to the right shape and he had to fold it in an 
awkward way to go into the book . I think I ' ve done a 
couple of other maps besides that. 
ZIEGLER: There was a map that you did for the endpapers of 



88 



the Lord John Press book Out of the West; [ Poems by William 
Everson, Gary Snyder, Philip Levlne, Clayton Eshleman, and 
Jerome Rothenberq ] . 

GERRY: Oh, yeah. I'm thinking more of a pictorial. I 
know I did another one. I can't think of it right now. 

Let's see, William H. Butler, Nothing To Wear . This 
was a poem about this poor — It was a nineteenth-century 
poem about this poor girl who didn't have enough to wear. 
And, of course, she had closets full of clothes, but not 
just the right thing that she wanted. It was published by 
Lorson's bookshop [Lorson's Books and Prints] in Fullerton. 
ZIEGLER: Could you tell me a little more about Lorson's 
Book Shop? 

GERRY: [James E.] Lorson started his bookshop in Orange 
County, in Fullerton. Oh, I would say he first contacted me 
back in the early seventies because he heard I was a printer 
and he wanted to handle some of my books. He's been very good 
about that to all of us since then. And he had to-- He ran 
his bookshop part-time in Fullerton for a number of years. He 
himself was employed in the electronics business. He was 
always looking forward to his retirement. Fortunately, he was 
laid off and he decided to do the bookshop full-time. His 
wife [Joan Lorson] runs the half that handles modern--I don't 
want to say contemporary--children' s books and some gift 
items. He runs the part of the bookshop which is the 



89 



antiquarian department. And they've made a success of 
it. He one time said he wanted to be the best antiquarian 
book dealer in Fullerton, and I think he finally got it. 
He also handles work by artists. He handles the work of an 
etching artist named Scott Fitzgerald and some watercolors 
by other artists. He's very helpful. Nice book dealer. 

This was a book I did for them, and we struggled 
along. It was printed while I worked with Pat Reagh. I 
think it was set — I think Pat set it on the Monotype, and 
we had some trouble with getting the right colored paper 
for the covering. In some ways it's very successful. I 
did two wood engravings for it that came out pretty good 
for a miniature book. It is a miniature book. 
ZIEGLER: We're still talking about Nothing To Wear? 
GERRY: Nothing To Wear . I think that its cover was 
somehow not too satisfactory, but it's not a bad-looking 
book, not a bad-looking miniature. A lot of people don't 
like miniatures. I don't like miniatures. But every once 
in a while I'll do one, in spite of it. [laughter] 
ZIEGLER: You say you don't like them. Why not? 
GERRY: Oh, because they're small and hard to do, and it's 
very hard to set the type. The only way you can do it 
right is to set the type by hand. And I always try to 
force it on the Linotype. At that narrow a measure it's 
very difficult to get any decent spacing. A miniature book 



90 



should really be set by hand, in 4-point type or — And 

nobody wants to set anything in 4-point type. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, I can imagine! [laughter] Having 

struggled with those little tiny pieces of type myself in 

the printshop downstairs. And, of course, that wasn't that 

small. Some people solve the problem by doing miniature 

books with, like, four letters to a page, and that sort of 

thing. 

GERRY: Or else they'll set it large and then have it 

reduced by photoengraving. But in the miniature book 

field, that's considered cheating. 

ZIEGLER: Oh! Yeah, I would tend to think so, too. 

GERRY: Also, when you're set up to print large books, you 

don't want to fool with small books. Really a person that 

does miniature books is usually set up to do-- He has a 

small press, a small paper cutter, a small little 

bindery. Everything is small. Somehow when you try to 

force it through a shop that is equipped [to do] a 6" X 9" 

book, it's sort of difficult. 

ZIEGLER: William Cheney did a lot of miniatures. Was he 

really pretty much exclusively a miniature printer? 

GERRY: No, Will did a lot of printing that was not 

miniature. He tended to be on the small side. Small 

pamplets, small booklets, like 4 1/2" X 6". But he did 

larger things. But mostly he was on the small things. He 



91 



did do many miniatures--! mean, small miniatures that were 

1" X 3/4" — or did a nice — They were all set with type. A 

beautiful one he did of bookplates all set in tiny, tiny 

little ornaments in a very small format. He was a real 

miniature guy. Miniature book printer. 

ZIEGLER: I think a miniature book is like an adult toy. 

It has some of that same appeal. 

GERRY: Yeah. When you see them all on display, it's like 

looking at a dollhouse, and you're fascinated by 

miniatures. 

ZIEGLER: I bet it must be fascinating, for the same 

reason, to see a printshop set up for printing miniatures 

with little tiny presses. 

GERRY: By little, I mean the Pilot press. Or maybe a 5" X 

8", which would be a little bit smaller. That's about a 7" 

X 9", 6" X 9", isn't it? 

ZIEGLER: You mean that one that I had so much trouble 

with? 

GERRY: Yeah, that's a 6" X 9". You could print four pages 

of a miniature very comfortably on that, and you might even 

stretch it out to eight. But four would go very 

comfortably on that. I think a lot of miniature people do 

two pages at a time. 

ZIEGLER: These were some things that I didn't manage to 

see, but I saw listings of them in your catalogs. 



92 



GERRY: Okay, these were probably books I proposed to do 
and announced that I would do, but then never did. 
ZIEGLER: Well, maybe you can tell me which you did do and 
which never got done. 

GERRY: Okay. I always wanted to do a miniature book on 
bibliographic abbreviations. I consulted with Ed [Edwin 
H.] Carpenter and with Jim Lorson about which bibliographic 
abbreviations it should include, and I had a pretty good 
list. And I even sent a couple of sample pages, but then 
somehow I lost interest. I may get interested again, but I 
just sort of got off on some other project. And nobody was 
banging on the door saying, "Quick, quick, when are you 
going to get it done?" Nobody ever begged me to do it. 
ZIEGLER: Well, I think it might be worth finishing 
sometime. Maybe reference librarians would use it. 
GERRY: Carry it in their pocket. 

ZIEGLER: This is The Day the Pig Fell in the Well by John 
Cheever--we talked about that before- -for the Lord John 
Press. That we did in two versions, the deluxe and the 
regular. And I bound twenty- six of them, I think, that 
were lettered. Each one had a different letter designating 
it, and they were bound and put in slipcases, which I 
believe I made. It was very ambitious. That was when I 
had a printshop full-time and I could do that sort of 
thing. In 1978. The book turned out very well. Some of 



93 



my very best typesetting for a very good author. And I 
think Herb [Yellin] always liked that book, too. 
ZIEGLER: I remember seeing some sketches for that. As I 
said, that one I didn't see the completed book, but a 
latticework design- - 

GERRY: It has a latticework design on the title page. 
Then one of the versions — I think the inexpensive version-- 
had a drawing of this old house where the story took place 
on the cover. I think that whole cover was sort of 
latticework, if I recall. But I remember drawing that 
house. You may have seen the drawings. I must have drawn 
it a thousand times, and then probably picked the wrong 
one. 

Proud Flesh by James Purdy was another Lord John Press 
I did in 1980. I had set the chapter headings, the heading 
of the plays, very low on the page. And after it was all 
printed, it looked blank. So I proposed to Herb Yellin 
that I put in some illustrations in these blank openings to 
the plays. There were about four or six plays. So he said 
okay. Then I wore myself out trying to come up with the 
right drawings. Then I had to run the sheets through the 
press again to imprint those on. And as I look back, 
sometimes I think, "Gee, maybe it wasn't so bad if they 
were left blank." 
ZIEGLER: In any case, I imagine it was a lot of work just 



94 



lining them up to get the illustration placed right where 

the type is. 

GERRY: Actually, that part wasn't too bad. [It wasn't] 

too hard to do that . Since I ' d proposed the idea to Herb 

and he'd accepted it, then I had to come up with the 

drawings, and I learned-- They came out very well. 

Actually, it was a pretty nice job. Four Common Plants , we 

talked about that, didn't we? The linoleum cuts? 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, I think we did. 

GERRY: Anthony Rizzo, Some Epigrammatical Notes . This was 

a background painter at the Disney Studio. He often left 

notes on my desk of his own composition, which were a 

little obscure. 

ZIEGLER: I think you mentioned that was the first thing 

you ever printed. Is that right? 

GERRY: It was the first book I ever printed. I just kept 

collecting these little notes. I printed them one page at 

a time and perfect-bound them. The man [Louis Appet] who 

later became the business agent for the cartoonists local 

union [Screen Cartoonists Guild] taught me how to bind the 

book. That was my first experiment with binding. 

To a Mouse , Robert Burns, Peach Pit Press. That would 
be around the early sixties when I had the Peach Pit Press 
in the basement. I think I'd gotten an 8" X 12" Challenge 
Gordon platen press, and I printed this on that. And it 



95 



was an 8 1/2" X 11" format set in large Janson, 24-point 
Janson, with some linoleum cuts that I did. It was just a 
little book of the poem "To a Mouse." I put a little 
glossary in the back of what some of Burns ' s Scottish words 
were. 

ZIEGLER: I saw where you had done different sketches for 
that, one of the mouse in its burrow and one of the plow. 
But I don't think I saw the completed one of that, so I 
never saw which drawings you used. You cut them in 
linoleum, then? 

GERRY: You really dug into all that stuff. 
ZIEGLER: Well, I looked through your papers at the Clark 
and the books of yours that we have there. 
GERRY: Plum Pudding by Delia Lutes. This was taken from 
one of her books. That was Weather Bird Press Food and 
Drink number six. These were small little booklet formats 
I decided to do a series on, and I think six was as far as 
I got. I have a few waiting to be printed. It's another 
one of those projects where I sort of lost interest. 
Although they are fairly popular--people like them. Delia 
Lutes ' s Vegetable Soup , same thing . That ' s Food and Drink 
number five. Sandwiches and Coffee was a very much edited 
excerpt from one of Ford Madox Ford's World War I books. 
That had a pochoir illustration. That was Food and Drink 
number four. Mission Grapes , Food and Drink number two. 



96 



This I tried to get my friend David Hitchcock to write. I 

thought in his retirement he'd be interested in researching 

grapes because he liked wine and had been to wine school. 

Well, I had a hard time trying to pry Mission Grapes out of 

him, which he wrote. And Elva Marshall did the etching, 

which I had Tony Kroll print. 

ZIEGLER: You did several things for David Hitchcock, 

didn't you? 

GERRY: Well, he did this for me. I just tried to get him 

to write it. Yes, David Hitchcock once ran for a public 

office, and I was his printer. 

ZIEGLER: Yes, I saw the campaign letter. And then was he 

connected with the Hancock Laboratories, that heart valve 

place? Or was — ? 

GERRY: No, no. They had nothing in common. That was 

Warren Hancock who started that company making porcine 

heart valves, and also bandages made from pig skin for burn 

patients. 

ZIEGLER: You also then did some wine bottle labels for 

David Hitchcock, didn't you? 

GERRY: Yeah, but that was just sort of as a present, just 

sort of fun. He's a fellow I've known a long time. But he 

knows nothing of printing, and he was not interested in 

writing really. It was my imagination that thought he 

might like to research this stuff. But he also did Mission 



97 



and he did Zinfandel Grapes for me for the Food and Drink 
series. 

ZIEGLER: And tell me a little bit about the artist. Let 
me look up her name again, the artist who did the 
engravings for that. 

GERRY: Oh, Elva Marshall--who has been a longtime editor 
at the Castle Press- -is an artist, and she made the 
etchings for me of the Zinfandel and the Mission Grapes . I 
remember we went out to a vineyard out on Foothill 
Boulevard and we looked at grapes and we looked at leaves 
and we started a little collection of wine grape leaves, 
and so on. We did a lot of research. She made these for 
me and she was good, and, of course, couldn't run off as 
many as I needed on her etching press. I think these were 
like two hundred copies. Tony Droll, a commercial 
engraver, he ran them off for me, and they're all tipped 
in. 



98 



TAPE NUMBER: III, SIDE TWO 
^4AY 4, 1989 

GERRY: These are Letters concerning D. H. Lawrence . I may 
have talked about this before. My aunt, Margaret Fay, her 
husband [Eliot Fay] had been a teacher of Romance languages 
in a number of different colleges--well, from Northwestern 
[University) down to the Citadel in the South — and he was 
very fond of Lawrence. He decided he would write a book on 
Lawrence, all from the existing written material. This was 
published by the Bookman Press, which means — I think — Fay 
may have had to pay for part of it himself to be 
published. He sent the book off to Dorothy Brett, Mabel 
Dodge Luhan, Frieda Lawrence, and one other who had been 
friends of Lawrence. This was in the early fifties and 
they were all still alive, and they wrote back to him. My 
aunt still had these letters in her possession, and I 
thought, "Hey, I'll publish some Lawrence stuff!" I mean, 
it's very distant, very fringy Lawrence stuff. I published 
the letters. I guess there were maybe ten letters. 
ZIEGLER: Well, it still should be of considerable interest 
to anyone doing a Lawrence biography. 

GERRY: Yeah. The letters were written by these friends 
and by Lawrence's wife to Fay. So that was about that. 
ZIEGLER: I saw where you'd been sketching a portrait of 
Lawrence, looking at different photographs of him. 

99 



GERRY: Oh, in the frontispiece. I had other people draw 
it for me too, and I finally ended up doing a Lawrence that 
wasn't too good, but it was sort of a fairly effective 
title page. I felt very good about publishing that because 
it was like new material. It wasn't just a reprint. 

Here we have Four Weeds , written by Charles Leland 
Richardson. This was my experience with etchings, the 
first time I'd ever done any etching or intaglio work. I 
had bought an intaglio press from an artist who was moving 
and didn't need it anymore. It was just the right size. A 
strong man can lift it or a weak man can take it apart and 
move it. And it will do a twelve-inch-wide plate. So I 
fooled around, and I talked to Richardson. I talked to him 
and he said, "Well, we'll do it on weeds." So I said, 
"Well, make it simple. Do four weeds." Well, to do four-- 
I did fifty copies, so that makes two hundred etchings. It 
was incredibly tiring to do fifty etchings of each plant. 
ZIEGLER: And etchings you can't put through the press at 
the same time as type, can you? 

GERRY: No, the type was fairly easy to print. But I 
printed the book first, and then I imprinted the etchings 
onto the sheets. Because obviously there was more a 
possibility of going wrong on the etching than there was on 
the type. So actually it came out pretty good. And Chuck 
Richardson wrote some nice, lighthearted little pieces 



100 



about the weeds. So that was another herbal book. Like I 
say, I don't think I want to do production etching again. 
ZIEGLER: You say this is the first time you did it? 
GERRY: Right. 

ZIEGLER: I would imagine it's very hard. I've never tried 
it — just reading descriptions. 

GERRY: The difficult part is wiping the plate off. And 
even though these were not big plates, it took a lot of 
time. Then the plate has to be put in the press every 
time, taken out every time. The ink has to be worked into 
the intaglio. The surface has to be wiped clean and then 
it has to be put back in the press. I'd worked out a way 
so I could register each page, which worked 
satisfactorily. And then you have to crank it by hand 
through the press. So each plate, each impression, takes 
quite a while. Probably I was doing six an hour. 
ZEIGLER: Yeah, that is slow going. 

GERRY: I don't know, maybe I could do twelve an hour, but 
that's really bearing down. 

ZIEGLER: Since you're printing intaglio, it must be very 
hard to be sure that you're getting a good impression. 
Because you have to be sure that the ink is in all the 
indentations, and then you have to be sure that the paper 
is pressed down enough to get into the indentations. 
GERRY: Right, right. Of course, that's what — 



101 



ZIEGLER: Without having so much ink that it spills over 
into the parts that aren't indented. 

GERRY: Yeah. It's amazing. Sometimes it works, and 
sometimes it doesn't. Usually, the beginning part--like 
you say — the ink doesn't get all the way in the bottom of 
the grooves. It takes quite a while to work it in there. 
And then how much of the surface you want to wipe off is up 
to the person that ' s doing the wiping . You might want to 
leave a little tone on there. There's one I did-- One of 
the weeds was morning glories. So where the actual flower 
was, I wiped it out more than I did the background, so that 
the flower sort of glowed through a little lighter than the 
background. But that was something that just came to me 
while I was doing it. I didn't intend to do it that way 
when I started. 

Now, let's see, David W. Davies, House Olson, 
Printer . Davies was a librarian at the Honnald Library in 
Claremont. He retired and began to write histories of 
local printers. Originally for the Castle Press, he wrote 
the story of the Castle Press in Pasadena. And he wrote a 
number of other stories I can't remember right now. This 
particular one was about House Olson, who was a very 
convivial printer and had been one of the founders of the 
Castle Press. This was just concerning his own life; it 
was a short book. I got the opportunity to print it and 



102 



publish It. 

ZIEGLER: Did you print any others for David Davles? 
GERRY: We were going to, but then he died. I think this 
was the only one I did. I set the type, and I had Pat do 
the presswork for me. I bound It In paper, stiff 
wrappers. Also, some were bound In boards. I still have 
some sheets of It that I may bind up In the future. It 
turned out to be a book I was proud of because It was 
original. Let's see. It had a tlpped-ln picture of Olson, 
and It had a hand-colored Initial and lots of letterpress 
examples--llnecut examples--of work he did, the typography 
he'd done. So that's part of a-- Glen Dawson called It a 
series of books about Los Angeles printers. 
ZIEGLER: Is llnecut the same as zinc cut? 
GERRY: Uh-huh [affirmative]. It just means It doesn't 
have a halftone screen. It's not a photograph or a 
paintlng--a continuous tone process--lt ' s just black or 
white, period. There are no dot patterns In It. 

Miriam Bragdon, Through the Garden Gate . Now, here's 
a typical example of a relative getting through to you. It 
was some poems of a very distant relative of mine. She was 
eighty years old and she kept saying, "Hurry up! Hurry 
up! I want this done before I die." So I kept-- And, of 
course, I think she may still be alive! This was done In 
1975. She was pretty strict. I had made a little 



103 



typographical error on the last page, and I kept explaining 
to her how this happened and not to worry about it, that it 
was perfectly all right. But she insisted that I do 
something about it, and I couldn't figure out what to do. 
I kept saying, "That's all right. You know, it's just what 
happens in printing." No, I was to do something about 
it! She kept on the phone to me from Chicago. Finally — 
and I was mad enough about taking on the job in the first 
place- -I took a razor blade, cut the back page off, 
reprinted it, and tipped it on in the little booklet. It 
was kind of a cute little book of her poems. 
ZIEGLER: I think you drew a garden gate for the cover or 
the title page or something. 

GERRY: Yeah, yeah. I did a nice little gate for her. It 
wasn't printed very-- Could have been printed in a darker 
color so it was a little more visible. But it was a garden 
gate. It had a little pansy peeking around the corner of 
the half -open gate, which I thought she would love. I 
thought it would be perfect for her book. But she never 
commented. Even when I pointed it out to her, she wasn't 
very impressed. She was impressed with her own poems, 
however! Speaking of poems-- 

ZIEGLER: Which, as I remember, were sort of lifted from 
Oklahoma and all sorts of other places. 
GERRY: Oh, really? Did you read some of the poems? 



104 



ZIEGLER: Yeah. 

GERRY: Oh, yeah. [laughter] Well, here's poems--these 
were a little better — by Walt Stanchfield, who I'd done a 
book of woodcuts for before [ Walt Stanchfield: A Series of 
Wood Cuts ] . And I told him — He had his poems, and he 
wanted to publish them. I said, "Well, I don't do poetry, 
but if you give me some small woodcuts — " All his woodcuts 
had been very large before. "If you give me some small 
woodcuts, I can print a small book, a 6" X 9" book. I'll 
do the poems . " I thought that that would keep him away for 
years, in fact perhaps forever. But it was only about a 
month later that a box full of cuts arrived, all to 
illustrate the poems. So I was obliged to do it. 

Wait a minute, I'm talking about the wrong book. 
Summer Impressions [ and Other Poems ]-- I'm sorry, cancel 
everything I said about Summer Impressions . Summer 
Impressions was a book of poetry I published for Walt 
Stanchfield. I did that down at Laguna [Beach] in 1968, 
and it was strictly poems. And there's nothing I can say 
that's memorable about the book at all. Even the title 
page I can't remember. Which may be good, because that 
emphasizes the poetry. So that was that experience. 
ZIEGLER: I remember that the woodcuts were very 
attractive. 
GERRY: Well, that was another book. That was another one 



105 



called Spring -- 

ZIEGLER: Oh. Yeah, I guess I'm probably mixing up the 
three or four Walt Stanchfield books. Yeah, Spring Barley: 
[ Poems of the Santa Ynez Valley ] was the one that had such 
nice woodcuts and a beautiful barley design on the cover. 
GERRY: Yeah, that book came out very well. 
ZIEGLER: Did we talk about Spring Barley ? 
GERRY: I think we did. That was in the Western Books 
Exhibition. That turned out to be a very good book. I'd 
done it on a handpress. It took me a whole solid month, 
working six, seven days a week. So even though I have a 
handpress now-- It was a terrible lot of work for some 
reason. I think I tried to do a hundred copies. And there 
were multicolored cuts. I mean, the cuts were not all 
printed in black; they were printed in several colors. 
That took a lot of careful inking, because I wanted to do 
it in the same impression. I did it on damp paper. That's 
Spring Barley I'm talking about. 

The Marvelous Platen Jobber of George Phineas 
Gordon . I had bought a little press in about '66, maybe 
'67. It was an 8' X 12' Challenge Gordon. I took it all 
apart, cleaned it all up, and painted it. Made it all 
pretty like new. And that became my press. But while I'm 
taking it apart, I got very interested in the Gordon 
press. And I bought a book at Dawson's called The Platen 



106 



called Spring -- 

ZIEGLER: Oh. Yeah, I guess I'm probably mixing up the 
three or four Walt Stanchfield books. Yeah, Spring Barley: 
[ Poems of the Santa Ynez Valley ] was the one that had such 
nice woodcuts and a beautiful barley design on the cover. 
GERRY: Yeah, that book came out very well. 
ZIEGLER: Did we talk about Spring Barley? 
GERRY: I think we did. That was in the Western Books 
Exhibition. That turned out to be a very good book. I'd 
done it on a handpress. It took me a whole solid month, 
working six, seven days a week. So even though I have a 
handpress now-- It was a terrible lot of work for some 
reason. I think I tried to do a hundred copies. And there 
were multicolored cuts. I mean, the cuts were not all 
printed in black; they were printed in several colors. 
That took a lot of careful inking, because I wanted to do 
it in the same impression. I did it on damp paper. That's 
Spring Barley I'm talking about. 

The Marvelous Platen Jobber of George Phineas 
Gordon. I had bought a little press in about '66, maybe 
'67. It was an 8' X 12' Challenge Gordon. I took it all 
apart, cleaned it all up, and painted it. Made it all 
pretty like new. And that became my press. But while I'm 
taking it apart, I got very interested in the Gordon 
press. And I bought a book at Dawson's called The Platen 



106 



Jobber by Ralph Green. This man had written about the 
platen jobbers, because they had all gone out of style and 
he was sorry to see that happen. He felt there should be 
something to remember the platen jobbers, which had been so 
popular for almost a hundred years. So I decided I would 
write my own little bit. I made an exploded view of the 
platen press, the Gordon jobber. I made an exploded view 
of all the parts and cut it in linoleum. Then there were a 
couple of other little illustrations I had. I wrote a 
little bit of text and put it all together in a broadsheet, 
which I still have some of. And it turned out to be pretty 
successful--I can't say that I'm not proud of it. I also 
redid this broadside later on in a different kind of type, 
using the same cuts, and printed it better. I did a better 
job of printing it. And also used the type and the cuts 
again to make a little booklet about the platen jobber. 
ZIEGLER: Well, here are some things that I saw listed as 
things that you were proposing to do. And I wonder which 
of these were actually done. Also, if you see any that are 
missing from this list, if you could mention them and talk 
about them. 

GERRY: Marion [A.] Baker. I met her. She's an artist. I 
met her here at UCLA. A bunch of us had come to some-- Not 
a convention, but it was a three-day meeting. People spoke 
and it was-- 



107 



ZIEGLER: Conference? 

GERRY: Conference, that's what it was. That's why I met 
her. She was interested in wood engraving, and she wanted 
to learn wood engraving. She had this idea, and she liked 
these spice boxes that she collected. I said, "You make 
the wood engravings and write me the text, and we'll do a 
little book on it." Of course, she never got around to 
it. So that was the end of that. Another one was 
Forgotten California Wineries by David Hitchcock. I was 
trying to inspire my friend in his retirement to write me 
something about wine that would be of interest to him to 
research, because he liked to travel around California. 
Well, as I told you before, he wasn't interested in doing 
that much work. It didn't appeal to him, so he didn't do 
it. 

Dan [Daniel] Bailey did write me something about a 
Bloody Mary, but I didn't think he really had done 
satisfactory research as to the origins of the Bloody Mary 
drink. Because I was going to do it for the Food and Drink 
series. So it's sort of lying around. I edited it a 
couple of times and had him rewrite it a couple of times, 
and it's just sort of lying there. It may be done some 
day. 

Square-Back Binding for the Small Printer . I had 
written a manuscript with all the drawings for how to bind 



108 



your own book at home. [It was for] a small-time 
printer. But I never-- Who could care? I mean, there are 
so many bookbinding classes around, I don't think-- It was 
for edition binding for a small printer. It was some sort 
of dream that I just never got around to doing. 
ZIEGLER: Well, I think there would be people interested in 
it. 

GERRY: Yeah, could be. But then I began to realize my own 
system of binding was kind of unorthodox, and maybe I'd be 
spreading the wrong word to people about how to bind. 
ZIEGLER: Is there an orthodoxy of binding? 
GERRY: Oh, yes. 

ZEIGLER: Anything that works I think would be acceptable. 
GERRY: Well, that is sort of my theory, but I think a 
person who is a real binder would probably find fault with 
some of the things I've invented myself. I mean the 
process I do, which may be very wrong according to a real 
bookbinder, because I more or less taught it to myself. 
ZIEGLER: What do you do? Could you describe it? 
GERRY: Well, maybe the way I glue the papers on or the way 
I sew it. Or the way — When you look at the book, you'd 
probably say, "Well, yeah, it looks just like any square- 
back book." But I'm sure a binder or a connoisseur could 
find some fault with it. And I sort of thought maybe I was 
passing on some information that people would have to 



109 



unlearn at a later date. 

Gentleman's Cooking Book , I still want to do that. A 
male chauvinist pig's cookbook, but I wouldn't call it 
that. 

ZIEGLER: [laughter] What makes it a male chauvinist pig's 
cookbook? 

GERRY: Oh, it would have recipes of things that men like 
to eat. 

ZIEGLER: Such as? 

GERRY: Corned beef hash and-- What else? Things like 
that, that a man cooks when he's home and he's "baching" 
it. When his wife's away or-- 
ZIEGLER: Real men eat corned beef hash! 

GERRY: Right, real men's food. I fiddled around with it 
for a long time, and I keep thinking, you know, it's one of 
those things that I'll do someday. I met a fellow who's a 
writer and also interested in food. I may say, "Hey, how 
about you writing it for me?" But I don't know. It's just 
kind of hard to-- I just have to sit down and work at it 
for a long time. I have thousands of recipes, and I have 
to beat it down to a reasonable number. A reasonable 
number of foods that only men eat! 

ZIEGLER: [laughter] What are some of the others? 
GERRY: Well, I wish I could remember to tell you now. Oh, 
I suppose chili--there would be a lot of chili recipes. 



110 



What else was there? Corned beef hash. Seems like I could 

remember. Oh, just things here and there that I — Oh, beef 

bourguignonne, and things that are fairly easy to make. 

The recipes are just written in prose. There's not a big 

list of ingredients or how much of each ingredient. It's 

sort of up to the man to throw it in the pot. 

ZIEGLER: Well, in fact, I think women will enjoy your 

cookbook , too . 

GERRY: Oh, sure 

ZIEGLER: And I must say, I once made beef bourguignonne 

over a camp fire. 

GERRY: Oh, really? 

ZEIGLER: Yes. 

GERRY: That sounds great. [laughter] No kidding! Where 

was that? 

ZIEGLER: Well, I was camping up at Santa Barbara, out in 

the mountains behind Santa Barbara, at a place I really 

love called Los Osos. 

GERRY: Oh, yeah. 

ZIEGLER: Upper Oso is the name of it. 

GERRY: Oh, Oso, okay. 

ZIEGLER: You marinate the beef in red wine, you know. So 

what I did was marinate the beef and all the spices in the 

wine and then just freeze it. I took this solid block of 

stuff with me. And then, on the first night out, I had a 



111 



big heavy iron pot, and I just stuck the big heavy iron pot 
right down in the campfire, with this mixture in it, and 
cooked it up. 

GERRY: Oh, golly. That sounds great! 

ZIEGLER: It was. Anyway, could you tell me some about 
doing Weather Bird? Your little magazine or newsletter 
that you put out and designed very attractively each time. 
GERRY : Yes , Weather Bird . One time at Dawson ' s Book 
Store, I ran across a portfolio that said "newsletter of 
the Curwen Press." It had, oh, say, six newsletters in 
there. And it was very reasonably priced. I mean, it was 
$5 or something like this. I thought, "Gee, this looks 
sort of interesting." I knew nothing about the Curwen 
Press. I suppose I'd heard of it, but I knew nothing about 
it. These little newsletters were about printing, so I 
just bought them for the fun of it and because they were 
cheap. I'd read them over and over, and they were very 
intriguing, how they had foldouts and they had used mostly 
material that they had already printed. This was just like 
an advertising thing they sent out to their customers. I 
thought, "I'll do one. I'll just use old paper and I'll 
use cuts that are already done, and I'll print samples of 
title pages I may still have standing around. Just to show 
what the Weather Bird press has done. I thought I'd do it 
every quarter, I suppose. I was very, very hard-pressed to 



112 



do it once a year. But the first one came out-- I can't 
remember what year, I tried to keep it lighthearted in a 
light, more of an amusing sort of way. This sort of 
writing. Comments on whatever I was showing. I tried to 
keep it lighthearted. So I did the first one, and I didn't 
promise myself anything, like I'd do another one. But the 
second year was coming around, and I thought, "Well, I'll 
do one more." And after ten years I couldn't believe it, 
I'd done ten of them. I mean, maybe that's not much of an 
accomplishment. But it's an accomplishment for me, because 
it's amazing that I was able to do it for ten years. But 
it was really started because of those Curwen Press 
newsletters. Since then, I've tried to get a complete 
collection, and no matter how much money it might cost, I 
still can't get a complete collection of the Curwen 
letters. There's one I have that's missing, and I think 
they only did twelve. I don't know. Somewhere around 
twelve or fifteen. That's how that came about. I may do 
it again someday, I don't know. It was very enjoyable, in 
spite of the fact that I was always pressed to get material 
for it. There was only an eight-page booklet. 
ZIEGLER: Also very informative. You have little essays 
on, well, for instance. Herb Yellin and Lord John Press. I 
remember really enjoying one essay with samples about how 
you do different cover patterns for binding, things like 



113 



that. 

GERRY: The ideas mostly came from the Curwen Press 
newsletters, I think. That was my inspiration for doing 
that. I did keep some. I kept twenty-five of every copy, 
and then I issued a collection in a portfolio. Not unlike 
the Curwen Press portfolio. I think I had some paste paper 
covers on it tied together with a string. They sold right 
away. Everybody wanted one, and they were gone. I think I 
just have one copy now. [tape recorder off] 
ZIEGLER: Can you think of any other books? 

GERRY: I can't, Rebecca, I haven't made a list of all the 
books I've done for a long time. When I only had three or 
four books, I was always making lists of all of my 
publications. But I haven't for a long time. It seems 
like you've covered a great many, if not every one of 
them. I guess I said I was working right now on a 
supplement to The San Pasqual Press: [ A Dream Nearly 
Realized ] . I think we covered the San Pasqual Press 
earlier, in last session. That's the most recent book I've 
done, I think. The story of the San Pasqual Press. And I 
guess recently I got some more information. I was able to 
talk directly with Val Trefz, who was one of the 
founders. I discovered he's still living down in Orange 
County . 
ZIEGLER: What's he doing now? 



114 



GERRY: He's retired, but his press is still going--called 
the Trefz Press- -and his son [Steve Trefz] is managing it 
now. So that little bit of extra information, plus some 
other San Pasqual Press books I found through Val Trefz, 
caused me to print the supplement. Ed [Edwin H.] Carpenter 
is looking at the proofs right now, to make sure that I do 
the bibliography — that is one of his specialties--that I do 
the bibliography right. 

Then I plan to do books I have-- I'm guilty of 
announcing books I'm going to do and then not doing them, 
but I'll tell you anyway. The book of Southern California 
Seaside Plants , which will be done on linoleum cuts, and I 
hope that [Charles Leland] Richardson will write it for 
me. That will probably be the biggest, most difficult of 
books I'll ever do. I will probably do it on a 
handpress. And the cuts will be multicolored. I don't 
know how many I'll do--maybe fifty copies will be about all 
I can do on a handpress. And I'll probably bind it myself. 

Then one that's been in work for a long time called 
The Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast . A very 
early children's poem. 
ZEIGLER: Oh, that sounds like fun. 

GERRY: It's supposedly the first children's poem that 
didn't have a lesson or a moral to it. 
ZIEGLER: Sounds like it would be fun to illustrate. Are 



115 



you going to illustrate it? 

GERRY: I've worked out almost all the illustrations on 

that. Again, to be cut in linoleum, but to be printed only 

in one color, probably in black. And then we mentioned The 

Gentleman's Cooking Book , which is still fairly vague. I 

should have brought my list of things I want to do. I 

can't remember any others right now. 

ZIEGLER: Let's see, I know of a few that I somehow didn't 

make slips for. There was Dibden's Ghost that you did for 

Lorson ' s bookshop . 

GERRY: That was a Christmas giveaway, I think. I don't 

know, maybe he did sell them. I did quite a few I think. 

There were five hundred, and I think his [James E. 

Lorson's] wife [Joan Lorson] offered to sell them. She's 

probably still selling them. 

ZIEGLER: I enjoyed that so much that I xeroxed a copy of 

your proofs for myself. Because we learned about Thomas 

Frognall Dibden in my analytical bibliography course last 

quarter, and I found it entertaining. 

GERRY: I confess that when Jim brought me the poem, I 

said, "Who the heck is this Dibden?" He said, "You ought 

to know. He was a great bookman." That was my 

introduction to Dibden, although I know a little bit about 

him. If I find a copy, I'll send it to you. But you'll 

probably be gone to Arizona by then. 



116 



ZIEGLER: Very likely. 

GERRY: I'm sure Jim's got plenty of them. 

ZIEGLER: And there was also — I don't know why I didn't get 

a card made for this either — T. H. White's Christmas at 

Forest Sauvage . 

GERRY: That was excerpted from The Sword and the Stone . I 

always loved that Christmas section of the book, so I did 

it without getting permission. I figured I wasn't going to 

make any money on it, maybe they wouldn't prosecute me. I 

was only going to give it to my friends. I did some little 

wood engravings that weren't too good. 

ZIEGLER: I think that would fall within the doctrine of 

fair use, as they say in the copyright law. 

I wonder if you could talk a little more about your 
partnership with Pat Reagh. 

GERRY: I was in Fallbrook and I had my shop going. I had 
come up to Los Angeles a couple of times, and I'd heard 
about Pat Reagh and I'd seen some of his work. I was very 
impressed. I think Bill [William] Dailey of Dailey's book- 
shop [William and Victoria Dailey Rare Books and Fine Prints] 
had discovered Pat and was using him to print something. The 
first thing I saw was the Southern California Book Dealers 
Association Directory . It's probably the wrong title, but it 
was a beautiful job Pat had done. 

So one time over at the Castle Press, there was some 



117 



event there, and Pall [W.] Bohne introduced me to Pat. We 
talked, and I told him how much I liked his things and so 
on. He may have even said then, "Maybe we should go in and 
be partners . " I don ' t know why he wanted to be partners , 
to tell you the truth. He liked the kind of work I did. 
So I can't really tell you how. I guess I probably had a 
fantasy of us having this printshop that would really 
satisfy all of my dreams. So I finally agreed with Pat. I 
said, "Okay, let's be partners." And we went over our 
equipment and said, "We'll keep this, and we'll get rid of 
that, and we're going to get this." And he was going to 
buy Lillian Marks ' s Heidelberg cylinder press. That was 
the biggest move of all for him, and for me too. 

So we had looked around, and I found a place in 
Glendale right near the train station which seemed to be 
the right place for us. It was a kind of an industrial 
neighborhood, and it wasn't too run-down but it wasn't too 
expensive. We were going to try to be cheap. It had 
enough square feet. We figured how many square feet we 
needed. I can't remember, two thousand or something like 
that we needed. So we moved in there around ' 80 or '81, I 
can't remember for sure. And here was all this stuff, all 
of our equipment. I brought everything I could from 
Fallbrook that would fit on a truck. Everything we had 
moved ourselves, plus what the movers had moved, was heaped 



118 



in the middle of the shop. 

We must have spent two months trying to put it all 
together, arranging it and sorting it out and trying to get 
an electrician. We had difficulty. No electrician would 
touch the job because the building was so old. Finally we 
complained to the landlord. I mean, here we were stuck 
with this — You know, it had cost us thousands of dollars 
in professional fees to have this equipment moved. We were 
stuck. So we were kind of panicked, and I thought I might 
even have to go back to work until we got some of the 
problems straightened out. Finally we talked to the 
landlord, and he got someone to bootleg in the wiring for 
us. We were all wired up and pretty soon ready to go, and 
eventually jobs that had been waiting, you know, couldn't 
wait any longer. We had to get on them. It sort of 
overlapped, the arranging of the shop and getting some work 
done. In fact some work we had to have at one time done on 
the outside for one client. We didn't even have a printing 
press that would work. 

But eventually it really got going. I think that 
first year I stayed with Pat, we did more books than he may 
have ever done in any one year since. Now, it may have 
been a good year for books. Everybody wanted to publish. 
Publishing was still profitable. I think a lot of the 
publishers, like Yellin and [Ralph] Sylvester and [Stathis] 



119 



Orphanos, had to cut back in later years. 

We worked a long time. I tell you, we just worked all 
the time. That's about all we did was work. I think all 
the things we did turned out very well. I'm surprised at 
some of the incidental things we had time to do. I can't 
think how we did it. And Pat bought a house near the area 
and he moved in there, right near his shop. He's still in 
the same shop. And it's still essentially the same 
equipment. After I left I took out the Linotype, which he 
wasn't too fond of. I think we made a mistake by keeping-- 
We had two vertical presses, and we kept his and not 
mine. I think we should have kept mine. His was cleaner, 
but mine was easier to operate. But then the Heidelberg 
was such a marvelous press that we eventually didn't even 
use the vertical, and Pat finally got rid of it. I moved 
the Linotype out. As a matter of fact, I had to junk it, 
because I couldn't sell it to anybody. Nobody would even 
take it off my hands, so I had to junk it. And I took out 
some other things there when we broke up the partnership. 
ZIEGLER: Why did you decide to discontinue it? 
GERRY: I think I was probably too old. I was about fifty- 
one when we started. Pat was only about thirty I think. I 
was not professionally trained as a printer. I was doing 
things in an amateur way, and Pat kind of didn't like that, 
naturally. He wanted things done more professionally. And 



120 



he was right. If it was a business, we couldn't fool 
around like amateurs. I had made a lot of mistakes that 
made me unhappy about being in the business. So much 
depended on accuracy, and I had made mistakes which cost us 
money. So I, you know, I just told Pat, "I can't do the 
partnership deal anymore. I want to get out of it." 
"Fine." It was okay with him. He always asked me to come 
back to work, but I think I wasn't prepared to work all 
that hard all that time. So I went back to the Disney 
Studio for the easy money. And I might add, we made very 
little money at the business. 

Pat does all right now, but the first year is probably 
the toughest. Pat has a reputation, and rightly so, of 
being the best printer in Southern California as far as the 
bookwork goes and letterpress . He ' s since come onto some 
later-model typesetting equipment. So it's been almost ten 
years now that he's been in the larger shop situation. So 
it's well seasoned. He is doing work for the Book Club of 
California right at this minute, and he's made a good 
success of it. Whether I was there or not, I'm sure he 
would have anyway. It probably took two people to have 
enough money and enough energy to get it that step up from 
where he was on Ninth Street. So that's about what I 
contributed then, that one step up. It was quite an 
experience, I'll tell you, that year that we worked 



121 



together. Somewhere in one of my newsletters I published a 

list of books we did that year. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, I saw that. That was a pretty impressive 

turnout . 

I'm just looking here to see what other questions I 
had written down. Okay, I wonder if we could move to some 
of the questions about design of printed matter and books 
in general. First of all, maybe we can talk about 
different typefaces and how you go about choosing a 
typeface. I have here a xerox of your sample of the 
typefaces of the Weather Bird Press. It might be a good 
way to approach this if you want to look at it and just 
comment on each typeface and in what circumstances you 
would use that typeface and what connotations it has, what 
impression it gives, and things like that. 
GERRY: Well, the first one we've got here is Helvetica. 
And I bought that strictly for commercial work. When I had 
my shop and I was going to try to make it successful and 
make it support itself, I figured I needed an up-to-date 
type, which was Helvetica. It was a very popular face at 
that time for commercial work. I don't think I ever used 
it very much, and it was the first thing I sold when I left 
that situation. 

ZIEGLER: And that's a sans serif type. Could you talk a 
little about using sans serif types and what you think they 



122 



could [inaudible] . 

GERRY: I'm not fond of sans serif types. Like I said, I 
only got this because of its appeal to customers who wanted 
to be up-to-date. I am not a fan of these faces. I don't 
know why they even came up with Helvetica. They've been 
through so many sans serif types in the advertising 
typography in such a short time. I mean, what was wrong 
with Futura? It was excellent. One of the first sans serif 
faces was Futura, and it is just as good as any of them. 
Unfortunately, it was a victim of fashion. And they came up 
and they had Venus; they all wanted to use Venus. There 
were a couple of other-- Franklin Gothic was revived. Not 
bad at all, Franklin Gothic. Then they came to Universe and 
Helvetica, and they were all types that did not interest me 
personally, although I could certainly see their use in the 
commercial world. I much prefer the older types, the faces 
with serifs on them. The first type that I ever got that 
was worth a darn for the machine was a Fairfield, which was 
Rudolf Ruzicka's Linotype face. I had that in two sizes, 
and I used that quite a bit. I don't think I particular ly-- 
Every printer falls in love with a type at one time and then 
falls out of love later on. The one type that I will 
probably never tire of is Linotype Janson. And, of course, 
they have foundry Janson and Monotype Janson. But the 
Janson type for typesetting machines is the one I will never 



123 



tire of. I think I like the Linotype — With the exception 
of the Linotype italic Janson, I like it maybe better than 
the Monotype Janson, which is a little lighter weight. 
ZIEGLER: Can I take a look at the sample of the Janson? 
GERRY: I don't think I had Janson when I did this 
catalog. It was something I always wanted, but it was 
never for sale used. All my Linotype faces I bought used, 
except for the Helvetica, at this period when I had the 
little shop in Laguna. 

ZIEGLER: Where do you buy used types or how do you find 
out about used types? 

GERRY: Oh, there were lots of dealers in Los Angeles who 
were selling used Linotype matrices, because the technology 
was changing around the late sixties. More and more 
printers were getting rid of their hot metals, and the 
dealers were loaded up with it. You could get it at a very 
reasonable price sometimes. I got mattes at nine cents 
apiece, and they were selling them new at thirty- five cents 
apiece. You took your chances. When you bought it used, 
you might end up not having all the characters if you 
bought used fonts from questionable sources. Some dealers, 
like Mid-West Matrix, would send you a proof and they were 
very careful to make sure their fonts were operable. Other 
people who sold things cheaper- - 



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TAPE NUMBER: IV, SIDE ONE 
MAY 4, 1989 

ZIEGLER: Okay. I don't know all of the typefaces. And I 
don't know much about Janson. Could you describe it? Is 
it an old style or a modern style? 

GERRY: Janson was, I think, a Dutch face that preceded 
Caslon. And [William] Caslon when he cut his famous face — 
named Caslon- -he may have been influenced by the Dutch 
types. Janson was one of them. It has many similarities 
to Caslon. However, to me, it's a little closer set, and 
the width of the letters-- You get more letters per line 
than you can with Caslon. 

ZIEGLER: So it gives a denser, darker look to the type 
block? 

GERRY: It doesn't call attention to itself as much as 
Caslon does. Every time you see Caslon, you go, "Bingo! 
Caslon." But people, most people, when you see Janson you 
don't think about it. I like Janson, because it was a very 
uneven type. Almost crude in some respects, but crude in a 
very nice way. Another face I liked, which I always 
thought would be an excellent contrast to Janson, if you 
could have two faces on a machine, would be Electra. It 
was [William] Dwiggins ' s face, his masterpiece of 
typesetting machine face. I had some Electra for quite a 
while, but not anymore. I don't know, I'm just telling you 

125 



my own personal taste in type. I don't know if that's 
exactly what I should be telling you. Or was that what you 
asked? 

ZIEGLER: Well, it's all interesting. I wonder if you 
could talk some more about maybe the sort of artistic 
connotations of typefaces or what sorts of material you 
would consider different typefaces especially appropriate 
for, just in looking right for the material. 
GERRY: Oh, my own personal feeling is that, yes, typefaces 
are sometimes more appropriate for one thing than 
another. But for the most part, I think a printer gets a 
new typeface because he likes the type and he's never had 
it before. He uses it for whatever job comes up first and 
tells himself that it's appropriate for that particular 
job, that particular book, that particular text. I think 
that there's an awfully broad range of types which are 
appropriate. 

ZIEGLER: I saw, though, that you had done some interesting 
things with some things that were sort of nineteenth 
century. And, in the impression you were trying to give, 
you did use some of those highly ornamented typefaces that 
[A. J.] Corrigan made such fun of. I thought that was 
great, because it gave that nineteenth-century look to 
it. I remember one case-- I'm afraid I don't remember 
which book, but you had chosen a "modern style" typeface in 



126 



the old meaning of "modern style, " which was modern in the 
eighteenth century. I thought it looked especially 
appropriate, because it was something with a sort of 
journalistic, nineteenth-century slant. 

GERRY: Oh. I can't remember that. I can't remember which 
one that would be. I think that to do what they call 
allusive typography is always entertaining to the one 
person trying to do it. To try to imitate a period of 
typography. Or suggest- -better if you suggest a period of 
typography. It's an intriguing thing to do for a printer, 
for a designer. [Grant] Dahlstrom was certainly excellent 
at that. And he-- 

ZIEGLER: Would he ever give you any advice, like saying, 
"This typeface is not really appropriate for what you're 
printing" or--? 

GERRY: Oh, sure, yes. Definitely. And typefaces that he 
just didn't like period, he had plenty of comment on. A 
lot of [Frederic] Goudy's faces he didn't like. But most 
of the printers that have influenced me have always gone 
more for the book types--book faces--like Bembo and 
Janson. Those are the two really nice ones. Then there 
are more Monotype faces, Fournier and Bembo narrow 
italic. Gosh, I can't think of them right offhand. 

Monotype was the one that made the most influential 
contribution to types of our time under [Stanley] Morison 



127 



and the English Monotype Company. The American Monotype 
Company I don't think did very much in the way of 
contributing types. Perhaps in the linecasting machines, 
like the Linotype and the intertype. [C. H.] Griffith with 
the Linotype Company came up with some very good types, 
Janson for one. And then Dwiggins ' s Electra, I thought, was 
a good face. Some of his other more-- Caledonia, Dwiggins ' s 
Caledonia, which I don't particularly like, but that was 
very popular for a while. But the real classical-- The 
faces that alluded to classic types were really revived by 
the English Monotype Company. The typefounders themselves, 
I think, like American typefounders, didn't contribute much 
to book types. Of course, that wasn't their business by 
then. Nobody was going to set a book by hand anyway. They 
contributed more in the advertising field. And then most of 
the little local typefounders were casting from Monotype 
matrices. So Monotype had a large influence, because the 
typefounder could just buy the Monotype mattes and a 
Thompson machine and be in the typefounding business. He 
didn't have to design or cut or have the expensive problems 
of designing his own type. So what else am I supposed to — ? 
I can't think of anything. 

ZIEGLER: Well, would you like to look over this and see if 
there are any other typefaces there that you'd like to 
comment on? 



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GERRY: Well, the Monotype Bembo is about the nicest face 
done in our time, and it's a revival of a Venetian sort of 
face. It's not really Venetian, but it's a type that comes 
from quite a long time ago. I'd say it's the best, most 
long-lasting of our twentieth-century book-face revivals. 
And John Bell, that's another great revival of a 
nineteenth-century type, but which was sort of the 
predecessor to moderns. The Scotch Roman probably followed 
this. I say nineteenth century, but I see the date here is 
actually 1788. So it's just before the turn of the 
century. The Monotype people revived John Bell in their 
version. Linotype did something vaguely similar in their 
Monticello, but it was too soft. Janson, of course, the 
original Janson, was around in 1690. Of course, we're 
looking at a book of types that I had in my printshop. 
Then there were some decorative faces here which I — And 
then in the fifties, the 1950s, there was a revival of 
nineteenth-century Victorian faces. The founders dug into 
their files and cast up a lot of these faces which they'd 
had since the nineteenth century- -since Victorian times. 
They cast those up, and people were very fond of using 
those. 

ZIEGLER: They could do a lot of-- 

GERRY: And I think used the way they were later on, with 
maybe just one word, one letter, one line or so of a 



129 



Victorian type set against a standard sort of Roman- -book 

Roman — made a very nice contrast. A lot of people did very 

nice things with that, including Grant and Saul [Marks] and 

Ward [Ritchie]. I think Ward did a little more — There's 

some. 

ZEIGLER: Yes. 

GERRY: What was that? It was called Jim Crow- -a sort of 

shaded type, shaded at the top. These are names I 

invented. Woodcraft, like Fantastic, but the Woodcraft 

looked like it was made out of logs. Very Victorian. 

ZIEGLER: Could you mention some books that are examples of 

that use of a Victorian typeface in contrast with a regular 

typeface? 

GERRY: Oh, I can't really. Grant did that a lot. And I 

think the Grabhorns even did it somewhat. Ward's 

typography was a little more--and only by comparison--a 

little more contemporary. He'd spent a lot of time in the 

advertising business. I don't want this to sound 

derogatory, because I've sort of been saying derogatory 

things about advertising typography. But I think Ward was 

always very contemporary in his typography. I mean, in 

comparison to Grant and Saul- Saul continually referred to 

past classic examples, I think. 

ZIEGLER: Well, we've sort of covered it, but I wonder if 

you-- Are there typeface designers that you especially 



130 



admire? 

GERRY: Well, first we start with the local three that 
influenced me. That was Ward and Grant and Saul. And I 
pretty much follow all that they set up--set down. I never 
questioned them anyway. Whether these were particularly 
Californian or not, I can't judge. Some say they are more 
Calif ornian than others, but I don't know. Then I would go 
to some English typographers. Certainly [Francis] Meynell 
and the Nonesuch Press. A lot of the Curwen Press things 
appeal to me, a lot of their booklets, and their books; 
they did a lot of nice books. Curwen and Meynell and the 
Golden Cockerel Press. I always admired the wood 
engravings, but the typography was not always something I 
admired or tried to follow. 

Other influences would be-- Well, not Goudy. I didn't 
particularly like Goudy 's work, although I liked his type 
Californian. Cooper didn't do much for me, although a very 
interesting, historic person- -Oswald Cooper- -and the things 
he did. I think maybe Elmer Adler might have, somehow, 
with some of his things he did with the Colophon . Peter 
Bielenson did things that appealed to me. Even his little 
books that he used to sell in the stores for a dollar 
always were very entertaining and very up- front 
graphically. You felt that he'd almost printed them with 
his own hands. You don't see books like that around 



131 



admire? 

GERRY: Well, first we start with the local three that 
Influenced me. That was Ward and Grant and Saul. And I 
pretty much follow all that they set up--set down. I never 
questioned them anyway. Whether these were particularly 
Californian or not, I can't judge. Some say they are more 
Californian than others, but I don't know. Then I would go 
to some English typographers. Certainly [Francis] Meynell 
and the Nonesuch Press. A lot of the Curwen Press things 
appeal to me, a lot of their booklets, and their books; 
they did a lot of nice books. Curwen and Meynell and the 
Golden Cockerel Press. I always admired the wood 
engravings, but the typography was not always something I 
admired or tried to follow. 

Other influences would be-- Well, not Goudy. I didn't 
particularly like Goudy 's work, although I liked his type 
Californian. Cooper didn't do much for me, although a very 
interesting, historic person--Oswald Cooper--and the things 
he did. I think maybe Elmer Adler might have, somehow, 
with some of his things he did with the Colophon . Peter 
Bielenson did things that appealed to me. Even his little 
books that he used to sell in the stores for a dollar 
always were very entertaining and very up- front 
graphically. You felt that he'd almost printed them with 
his own hands. You don't see books like that around 



131 



anymore, not for a dollar anyway, or at all, for any 
price. Some of his better, more expensive books that 
Bielenson did at the Peter Pauper Press I think were-- I 
liked them. So I guess if you like them, they're going to 
influence you. You want to imitate them. I'm very 
imitative. If I see something I like I try to force it on 
whatever particular job I'm doing at the time, and that's 
usually unsuccessful. 

Of course, I like graphic. The involvement of 
pictorial matter with type, if it's very graphic, like 
linoleum cuts or wood engravings. 

ZIEGLER: And which do you think are some of the most 
successful examples of that? 

GERRY: I can't say right offhand. I think a lot of the 
illustrated books that the Curwen Press did were very good 
along those lines. And Meynell, the Nonesuch Press. Gosh, 
his The Anatomy of Melancholy , there are some great 
drawings in there that are very well integrated with the 
type. There should be some example I could cite, but I 
can ' t . 

ZIEGLER: [inaudible] 

GERRY: I didn't do my homework, you see. [laughter] 
ZIEGLER: Well, I don't want to give you that impression. 
I mean, the amount that you do know is amazing. Could you 
talk a little about choosing the paper when you print 



132 



something? 

GERRY: Paper's always been a terrible problem for me. I 
don't know why. But other people seem to not be able to 
find-- They suffer from the same problem, not being able to 
find the paper that they think they want. Now, there was a 
paper that I-- It was so hard to get paper. The handmade 
papers were so expensive and were so few when I first 
started printing in the sixties that I didn't pay any 
attention. All I wanted was a good commercial paper. But 
all of the good commercial papers were going to offset, and 
they were very hard to print on by letterpress. So I was 
continually going through the catalogs of Blake Moffat and 
the commercial paper people, looking for the ideal paper to 
print on letterpress. And I was wringing my hands because 
I could never find it. But, lo and behold, I look back on 
some packages of paper that I still have from those days, 
and I think, "I had it. It was right there and I didn't 
know it. Look at this beautiful paper!" But at the time I 
thought, "It's only a substitute for what I really want." 
ZIEGLER: You mean just because it's so much better than 
what's available now? 

GERRY: Partially that, but partially because I couldn't 
see it at the time. I thought, "It's just a compromise. 
It's just a compromise for what I really want." 
ZIEGLER: You really wanted to be printing on handmade 



133 



paper? 

GERRY: No, not really. But I wanted to be printing on a 

paper that would decently accept the letterpress. And here 

I had it all the time, I just didn't know it. So paper is 

a tricky thing. Then you think, well, certain papers are 

for certain things. If you want to print something that's 

very fine, you're going to need a smooth paper, if you're 

going to not print it damp. That's about the only 

requirement, I would say. I think you take a paper because 

you like it. Or because you're tired of the one you've 

been using. I think Mohawk superfine is very good for 

anything. It's a cheap commercial paper, but it works very 

good for letterpress, and it looks good. You can hardly 

fault it. Ragston's another one that's hard to fault. 

They're getting a little harder to print on, or at least 

the Ragston's a little harder printing on than it once was 

letterpress. 

ZIEGLER: Have you ever printed on handmade paper? 

GERRY: Yes. I do it more so all the time now. 

ZIEGLER: I imagine sometimes it's hard, because handmade 

paper is by nature irregular. 

GERRY: You usually do it damp--it's going to be damp. I 

would say I more and more go to the paper catalog of-- I 

won't say handmade, because very little of the paper is 

handmade. But the- -what do you want to say? --the less 



134 



commercial papers that are handled by Nelson Whitehead and 
the Paper Source and some of the art supply houses like 
Daniel Smith. I'll go to those papers because now there's 
a big selection and they're also priced within reason. So 
you can afford them. And maybe now, in my later years, I 
don't mind paying a dollar a sheet, whereas that would have 
killed me to have to do that ten years ago or fifteen years 
ago. But like cheap wines at Trader Joe's for $1.99, I 
seldom buy any other kind. [laughter] So I usually buy-- 
A dollar a sheet is about my tops, unless it's for 
something very special. And I think printing, no matter-- 
Whether you're printing damp on handmade paper, or any kind 
of paper, it's very hard for anybody to get a good 
impression. Pat [Patrick Reagh] will tell you that the 
Heidelberg cylinder press will get you a good impression 
every time. And he's right. But the rest of us, who don't 
have Heidelberg cylinder presses, are going to be fighting 
to get a good sharp image no matter what kind of press, 
what kind of ink, or what kind of paper we've got to work 
with. 

ZEIGLER: Yeah. 

GERRY: I think it's just part of letterpress printing. 
And offset printing has the same problem, but in a 
different way. 
ZIEGLER: Yeah, of course, I discovered some of that in the 



135 



printing class last quarter. Could you describe the 
process of laying something out, working out the layout for 
a book or broadsheet or whatever? 

GERRY: More and more, what I do is just write out the 
title by hand with a pen, if I want to, say, work on the 
title page. I try to save the title page of the book till 
the last, because that's sort of the dessert. And I think 
the rest of the book may suggest to you a title page. 
After you've been through the manuscript, after you've been 
through how you're going to plan all the other pages of the 
book, the information you've gathered will help you with 
the title page. The title page is your tour de force. 
Title pages are what we always remember. However, I must 
say that as time goes on I'm less interested in making the 
title page that ' s going to knock out the eyes of the world 
than I once was. 
ZIEGLER: Why is that? 

GERRY: I don't know. I guess because I know I'm not going 
to do it. I've seen so many other title pages that other 
people have done that you realize, well, just do a good one 
and be glad to get that. 

ZIEGLER: Wasn't it Beatrice Warde who said that the layout 
and all that shouldn't call attention to itself but call 
attention to its content? So you don't want a title page 
that is just so striking that that's all you think about. 



136 



GERRY: She's right, very right. Like Diana [Thomas] said 
in the printshop, "It's hard to keep the students from 
using every type we ' ve got on each page ! " And so I think 
it's sort of the same system. It works in your mind that 
eventually, yes, you're less interested in showing off what 
you can do and more interested in showing-- You're 
interested in not distracting the viewer. This is true of 
the motion picture business. This is true of probably any 
art or any sort of show business. To try to point the 
public's eye to what you want them to see. Printing is no 
different. But like I say, if I'm designing something, I 
generally just sit down with a pen or a pencil and write it 
out by hand. You can see where it can break, or where it 
might break, and you try it that way. As opposed to going 
with a layout pencil, trying to lay it out full-size with a 
T square, and so on, I would just fiddle around, writing it 
out with a ballpoint or a pencil. That will suggest things 
to you, to the layout person. That's about all I can say 
for that. 

ZIEGLER: Well, I wonder if you could talk more about 
illustrations and how you go about marrying illustrations 
to the text--deciding maybe what to illustrate, what 
technique is most appropriate for this and so on. 

GERRY: Well, I would say in my case, because the 
illustration is going to be printed letterpress and maybe 



137 



not necessarily along with the type-- Because it may 
require a lot more ink than the type, you may have to print 
it separately. With drawings it's going to be the same 
process. So I'm limited to a photo plate, what I can have 
made by photo engraving. It can't be a halftone plate 
because I don't want to print halftones and I can't print 
halftones. So it's going to be a line drawing, now. A 
line resolution, shall we say. So it's going to be a 
linoleum cut or a wood engraving or a photo engraving. So 
that's what I am limited to. Those are fairly graphic. I 
think I like illustrations which are graphic. What do I 
mean "graphic"? Two-dimensional I guess would be 
graphic. Would that be? Something that is not 
particularly attempting to be a three-dimensional image, 
like a lot of Italian perspective. 

ZIEGLER: Something that works as more of a design. 
GERRY: More of a design. And I think certain things 
vibrate. Certain old woodcuts and wood engravings vibrate 
because of the juxtaposition of the little white lines 
together. That is sort of the same way that type does. When 
you're not reading it you just see it, and it vibrates 
because of the little black and white pattern that you see. 
Vibrates your eyes and it's sort of pleasing. A person might 
try to work something into their illustrations that has a 
little vibrant quality like the type does. I don't really 



138 



have any theory about what should be illustrated. We were 
talking about the [Edward] Ardizzone book that I printed 
where he tells about book illustrating [ On the Illustrating 
of Books ] . He has very definite views of what should and 
should not be illustrated. I don't think I have worked out a 
system. I just probably pick something I like in the story 
that I think should be illustrated, and I do it by whim, not 
by intellect. Just by what appeals to me. 

ZIEGLER: I noticed that you often would draw things again 
and again and maybe draw a variety of different things for 
the same work, and then you would choose only some of them. 
GERRY: Years ago I would. 

ZIEGLER: In any case, it looked to me like you do it by 
sort of drawing out the possibilities and then choosing 
among them . 

GERRY: Yeah, I think you should explore the possibilities. 
Like Ward describes when he started-- It was early typo- 
graphic expressions. He would proof the title page and 
then he would pin it on the wall until he had a hundred 
versions of some slight change on the wall. He said it was 
a matter of not being able to decide what he really 
wanted. And I think that's true of-- I do draw things out 
too much to the point where I miss-- I look back at some of 
the drawings for illustrations and I think, "Why didn't I 
use that? That's much better than what I finally did use." 



139 



ZIEGLER: I was reading some about the [Walt] Disney 
Studio, and I sort of gathered that Disney works the same 
way, that people are encouraged to draw and draw and draw 
all sorts of different possibilities and many of them never 
get used finally. In fact, many of maybe the best ones 
never get used. 

GERRY: Well, yeah, there's always that feeling. 
ZIEGLER: Putting all the possibilities out on the board to 
choose from. 

GERRY: There's always that feeling that, well, maybe some 
of the best stuff doesn't get used. Yeah, I think book 
printing is very much like movie making. Although I didn't 
realize until later on that there are all these 
possibilities that are available to you and you have to-- 
In the motion picture business, as opposed to, say, 
printing a few hundred copies of a book, it's a lot 
different. I mean, you're trying to appeal to a very large 
audience, and the larger the audience you appeal to, the 
harder it is to get the material and develop it so that the 
audience likes it. Anybody can make a picture that will 
appeal to their relatives or their buddy across the table 
from them. I mean, you can make a motion picture, one that 
will appeal to yourself. But to make something that 
appeals to a lot of people, it takes a lot of--I hate to 
say it--a lot of effort. You have to try a number of 



140 



different things, and somebody has to pick from all these 
to try and make them say, "Yes, this is what we want to 
use." And you hear all these stories about "Well, we had 
to hire some more writers." "They had ten writers and they 
fired that writer." "They got this writer to rewrite this 
writer's rewriting." It sounds ridiculous when somebody 
tells you this is what they do in Hollywood, but every 
picture I have ever worked on, we have done it exactly that 
way. Nobody seems to know why. 

ZIEGLER: I gather, though, that it's not that the things 
that didn't get used were not good, but maybe they didn't 
fit in with the story. Maybe there was some really great 
scene, well drawn and very comical in itself, but once it 
was put together it sort of disrupted the story line. 
GERRY: Right, that's usually what happens. 
ZIEGLER: I would imagine that something like that happens 
in book illustrations. Maybe you've done some drawings, 
some great drawings. They just don't quite complement the 
layout of the page in the way you want it exactly. Or 
maybe they would be too distracting on the page. 
GERRY: Exactly. That's where the similarity comes in. 
You try to make the book seem, you know, as a whole thing 
that kind of fits all together. So a lot of the ideas that 
you get, typographic ideas as well as illustrative ideas, 
might stand very well on their own, but when it all goes 



141 



together in one book it might be distracting. All the 
other elements might fight together. You don't want that, 
because you want the person to read the book and not — 
ZIEGLER: Can you think of some cases where you had some 
great illustrations that you were just dying to use but had 
to give up on them because they didn't all work together 
well in the book? 

GERRY: No, unless it would probably be every book, every 
time I tried to illustrate anything. No. Sometimes the 
author has a hand in selecting the illustrations, or the 
publisher, and sometimes that goes against your grain. But 
in the long run-- I mean, after all, they have the right to 
do it. 

ZIEGLER: Could you say a little more about that? 
GERRY: Pat and I did a book for [Ralph] Sylvester and 
[Stathis] Orphanos that was a Tennessee Williams book. 
Tennessee Williams had a friend who had made this woodcut, 
and he wanted to use it. Well, I think they were obliged 
to accommodate Tennessee Williams on this matter because 
they had gotten the rights to do this book from him. It 
was a book, but it was this short story. In the end we 
used the illustration that-- I won't speak for Sylvester 
and Orphanos, but Pat and I didn't like it. We didn't 
think it was all that appropriate or good. So that was an 
incident where the author had the power to force his ideas 



142 



onto us. But it's not a big deal. 

ZIEGLER: You've done quite a bit of job printing, and I 
would imagine that occurs even more with job printing than 
it does with book printing. That the client has his or her 
own ideas and that you really have to work around them, 
whether you like it best or not. Is that true? 
GERRY: Oh, especially in commercial printing, yes. I 
think you're supposed to guide the client along the right 
path, and when he gets too far off you just kind of bring 
him back. I think you don't have to force your ideas, you 
don ' t have to make him be the best typographer in the 
world. You just have to make him look pretty good- And if 
he wants to do something terribly ridiculous, that's when 
you argue. But you can't argue every point because you 
personally feel you've got a better idea. 
ZIEGLER: Are you willing to talk about any particular 
examples? 

GERRY: I haven't done that much commercial work, really. 
I know Pat's experience with it is you don't regard it the 
same way you regard your bookwork or your bookish 
printing. It's like something you do-- It comes from the 
outsider. It's brought in by the outsider, and they 
already have a preconceived idea of how they want it. They 
seldom come to you as a printer anymore and say, "Do this 
for me." "We have this idea. Our artists did it, and this 



143 



onto us. But it's not a big deal. 

ZIEGLER: You've done quite a bit of job printing, and I 
would imagine that occurs even more with job printing than 
it does with book printing. That the client has his or her 
own ideas and that you really have to work around them, 
whether you like it best or not. Is that true? 
GERRY: Oh, especially in commercial printing, yes. I 
think you ' re supposed to guide the client along the right 
path, and when he gets too far off you just kind of bring 
him back. I think you don't have to force your ideas, you 
don ' t have to make him be the best typographer in the 
world. You just have to make him look pretty good. And if 
he wants to do something terribly ridiculous, that's when 
you argue. But you can't argue every point because you 
personally feel you've got a better idea. 
ZIEGLER: Are you willing to talk about any particular 
examples? 

GERRY: I haven't done that much commercial work, really. 
I know Pat's experience with it is you don't regard it the 
same way you regard your bookwork or your bookish 
printing. It's like something you do-- It comes from the 
outsider. It's brought in by the outsider, and they 
already have a preconceived idea of how they want it. They 
seldom come to you as a printer anymore and say, "Do this 
for me." "We have this idea. Our artists did it, and this 



143 



is what we want." As far as commercial printing goes, the 
printers themselves may encourage that. I know the Castle 
Press, George Kinney, says that they do more-- They welcome 
camera-ready copy. They welcome it. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, it certainly cuts down on their work a 
lot. I wanted to ask you what illustrators you 
particularly admire. You mentioned Ardizzone. Are there 
some others? 

GERRY: Oh, yeah, Ardizzone. Of course, in the area of 
wood engravers, I like [Eric] Ravilious. Ravilious, Eric 
Ravilious. He's been dead a long time, but I especially 
admire him. And a number of those illustrators that worked 
for the Golden Cockerel Press. I can't remember all their 
names offhand. Edward Bawden, an English illustrator, who 
doesn't do wood engravings. I admire his work very much. 
He did a tremendous amount of illustrating over the years, 
and then largely bookwork. I don't know. I have an awful 
lot of artists that I like and admire. Somehow I can't 
remember them now. 

In the painting-- Of the California watercolorists, I 
like Rex Brandt and that school that's almost gone now. 
Milfred Zornes on the very wall out here, I like those, the 
California school of watercolor painting. Illustrators, 
illustrators. Yeah, there's a lot of them. American 
illustrators I like a lot. Damned if I can remember them. 



144 



is what we want." As far as commercial printing goes, the 
printers themselves may encourage that. I know the Castle 
Press, George Kinney, says that they do more-- They welcome 
camera-ready copy. They welcome it. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, it certainly cuts down on their work a 
lot. I wanted to ask you what illustrators you 
particularly admire. You mentioned Ardizzone. Are there 
some others? 

GERRY: Oh, yeah, Ardizzone. Of course, in the area of 
wood engravers, I like [Eric] Ravilious. Ravilious, Eric 
Ravilious. He's been dead a long time, but I especially 
admire him. And a number of those illustrators that worked 
for the Golden Cockerel Press. I can't remember all their 
names offhand. Edward Bawden, an English illustrator, who 
doesn't do wood engravings. I admire his work very much. 
He did a tremendous amount of illustrating over the years, 
and then largely bookwork. I don't know. I have an awful 
lot of artists that I like and admire. Somehow I can't 
remember them now. 

In the painting-- Of the California watercolorists, I 
like Rex Brandt and that school that's almost gone now. 
Milfred Zornes on the very wall out here, I like those, the 
California school of watercolor painting. Illustrators, 
illustrators. Yeah, there's a lot of them. American 
illustrators I like a lot. Damned if I can remember them. 



144 



is what we want." As far as conunercial printing goes, the 
printers themselves may encourage that. I know the Castle 
Press, George Kinney, says that they do more-- They welcome 
camera-ready copy. They welcome it. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, it certainly cuts down on their work a 
lot. I wanted to ask you what illustrators you 
particularly admire. You mentioned Ardizzone. Are there 

some others? 

GERRY: Oh, yeah, Ardizzone. Of course, in the area of 
wood engravers, I like [Eric] Ravilious. Ravilious, Eric 
Ravilious. He's been dead a long time, but I especially 
admire him. And a number of those illustrators that worked 
for the Golden Cockerel Press. I can't remember all their 
names offhand. Edward Bawden, an English illustrator, who 
doesn't do wood engravings. I admire his work very much. 
He did a tremendous amount of illustrating over the years, 
and then largely bookwork. I don't know. I have an awful 
lot of artists that I like and admire. Somehow I can't 

remember them now. 

In the painting— Of the California watercolorists, I 
like Rex Brandt and that school that's almost gone now. 
Milfred Zornes on the very wall out here, I like those, the 
California school of watercolor painting. Illustrators, 
illustrators. Yeah, there's a lot of them. American 
illustrators I like a lot. Damned if I can remember them. 



144 



though! I should go home and write all these things down 
and come back prepared. 

ZIEGLER: I don't know if we'll have another session after 
today, although it seems like we have enough material to 
keep talking. Maybe if we have another session, if you can 
think of some, you can mention them next time. Could you 
talk a little about choosing the binding for a book and 
deciding how to bind it? What kind of cover, what cover 
paper design? 

GERRY: Well, a lot of times it's going to be "What does 
the customer want to pay?" In my own case, it's "How lazy 
am I? How much labor do I want to put into it if I'm going 
to bind it myself?" If you have a cloth spine and paper- 
covered boards and a round back, there's a lot of labor 
involved. More so than a square back, which is full 
cloth. So you say, "Well, how much labor do I want to 
do?" That is largely the deciding factor. And then one 
example I can point out, and others are fairly arbitrary 
decisions about binding. "Oh, look, here's a nice paper. 
Let's use that. I'll make a nice paste paper." Maybe I'm 
in a paste paper mood. That will probably determine what I 
was going to use as a binding. If there was something else 
I was fond of at the time-- 

ZIEGLER: I don't know quite what you mean by paste paper. 
GERRY: Well, you take some color, like some watercolors 



145 



and some acrylics, and you mix it with paste. It gives it 
a thickness, and you can brush it on and it stays wet. And 
you can scrape designs in it with a comb or just the brush 

itself. 

ZEIGLER: Oh, yeah, I've seen examples of that. 
GERRY: It's a fairly fast way of making individual 
papers. Or you might want to print a printed pattern 
paper, like the little Christmas book. Then you say, "Am I 
going to spend that much? How much labor do I want to 
do?" Or "Is the customer going to pay for that?" Then you 
go to a round back or a straight back. And binders will 
say, "I'll do it for the same price. I'll do your round 
back just as easy as a square back." But it isn't true — a 
round back usually costs more. And the thinner a book, the 
harder it is to make it round. 

One book I'll say, the book I did of Wilfred Owen's, 
War Poems , illustrated by Dale Barnhart. I carefully 
selected a cloth which seemed to me the kind of military 
color of a soldier's outfit--an olive drab. The bindery 
happened to have this particular cloth on hand. It looked 
kind of like the color, an olive drab color, of a World War 
I outfit. Then I used a plastic spine which was imitation 
leather. But, please, it doesn't look as bad as it 
sounds. It looks very good, 
ZIEGLER: Well, I saw the book. 



146 



GERRY: That was supposed to be the leather of the 
soldier's belt or the officer's belt, and then that 
combination of the cloth and the leather was reflecting the 
soldier's uniform. Then I gold-stamped the spine. You 
could say, "Well, that's the officer's brass insignia." 
Then I stamped in a darker brown, which could be the mud of 
Flanders, the picture on the cover, which I think was a 
soldier's face, as I recall. That was all done to reflect 
what was inside the book. Other times I haven't been that-- 

Well let's see, the book on Miniatures on Modern 
Artists; [ Some Notes ] — Well, let's see, that was a different 
paper. That was a compromise paper I had to use later. 
Because I ran out of the stuff I'd actually printed. But I 
tried to make something that looked modern. It had an Art 
Deco look to it. It was done with typographical ornaments 
for the miniatures on modern artists, but not always do I 
really try to make a big deal out of reflecting what's inside 
the book in what's on the binding. 

ZIEGLER: You have done some very successful examples of 
doing that, though. Spring Barley , Castle and Peacocks on 
the Castle Press. 

GERRY: Yeah, yeah, that's right. That was an Italian 
paper that I had adapted to look like the Castle Press, and 
I put the castle in there. John Randle of Matrix magazine 
liked that paper, and he wanted me to do a paper for Matrix 



147 



magazine, a cover paper. So I kept sending him designs. 
He says, "No, no. It's more like that other one that you 
did for the Dahlstrom book." And finally he said, "No, 
just like the one you did for the Dahlstrom book!" So 
that's what he finally used. 

ZIEGLER: Did you have any of the paper left? 
GERRY: No, he was going to have to print it. After all 
those-- That's the one he really wanted all along. 
ZIEGLER: Well, you mentioned that you do do a lot of 
binding yourself, but then you've also mentioned that you 
have other people bind your things sometimes. Bela Blau is 
one person who I saw mentioned frequently. 

GERRY: I like Bela to do my books or my customers' books, 
mainly because I have a working relation with him. I mean, 
I know him and I can talk to him and we're friends. But 
the most important thing about Bela is I know that he will 
watch-- Whether he does it himself or not, he will watch my 
book all the way through the plant. I don't know any other 
binders who I can count on to do that . I did have a book 
done by Earl Grey. Now, see, Lillian Marks always used 
Earl Grey. They had a rapport. I didn't particularly like 
what Earl Grey had done for me. 
ZIEGLER: Which one did he do? 

GERRY: He made the boxes, [which] were not very well made, 
I don't think, for a medieval book on medieval cookery. A^ 



148 



Treatise on the Art and Antiquity of Cookery in the Middle 
Ages . But, see, it's probably 80 percent that I know Bela 
will watch my book all the way through. He won't just say, 
"Here, go do it" to somebody. He'll be doing it himself. 
Then it ' s another 20 percent that I know him and I can talk 
to him. We have a common language. Even though he speaks 
with a very heavy Hungarian accent, we have a common 
language. [laughter] 



149 



TAPE NUMBER: IV, SIDE TWO 
MAY 4, 1989 

ZIEGLER: I wonder if you could just repeat a little of 
what you were saying about why you liked to work with Bela 
Blau, because we may have missed it at the end of the tape. 
GERRY: Oh, okay. I like Bela as a binder for my own books 
as well as customers' books because I can work with him. I 
can understand him. We talk together, we're friends. But 
most important of all with Bela Blau and A-1 Bookbinders is 
Bela will watch the job. If he's not working on it 
himself, he keeps an eye on it all the way through the 
shop, because he runs a fairly small operation. There's 
nothing that goes by him that he doesn ' t see or keep a hand 
on or do himself. The other binders are large and fast. 
They get the job, and the man you talk to about the job is 
not the man that's going to work on it. It's going to go 
through a plant, done by people who more or less don't 
care, and it's going to look that way. It's perfectly all 
right for certain things. But if you're picky and you 
don't want to be embarrassed when your client says, "Look, 
the book is all stuck together--" "They won't open." "The 
glue is squirting out." The this, the that. "They're 
upside down." Whatever. You want to avoid that 
embarrassment, I always go to have Bela do it. If you can 
afford it. He's more expensive, naturally, but not 

150 



terribly. 

ZIEGLER: How big a business does he do? Does he do mostly 
small press books, or does he do real large printing? 
GERRY: Bela does every kind of binding. He does 
commercial hardware catalogs, portfolios. Anything he'll 
do. He does a lot of miniature books. He's a specialist 
in miniature books. 

ZIEGLER: They must be harder to bind as well as to print, 
aren ' t they? 

GERRY: Oh, yeah. You have to have the right temperament 
to bind miniature books. He does. That's one of his main 
specialties. But I'm sure that's not what he makes his 
living on. He makes his living on doing catalog covers. 
You know, gold-stamping material and embossing and heavy- 
duty catalogs. Any kind of commercial binding he does. 
But he also does good bookbinding. 
ZIEGLER: Do you ever use Kater Craft binders? 
GERRY: I have in the past. I know Mel [Kavin] . But, now, 
there's an example. For all of Mel's caring about it and 
all of his knowledge of binding, when it goes to Mel's it's 
a big plant. It's got forty people, sixty people in 
there. He cannot possibly watch everything. They do 
excellent library binders, and their fine book department 
is really special. But I think it's too expensive for me 
to go to the fine book department. 



151 



ZIEGLER: The Clark [Library] uses them a lot. 

GERRY: They do a lot of restoration work. Excellent, 

excellent. There are certain things I would be glad to 

send to Mel and Kater Crafts. 

ZIEGLER: What's Mel's full name? 

GERRY : Mel Kavin . I don ' t know whether he ' s a Melvin or 

what. I never found that out. I always knew him as Mel. 

And Mel is a real friend of the printing business. Mel is 

very interested in the subject and very active and has a 

marvelous little library in history down at the plant--I 

think they take students through there sometimes- -the 

history of binding and printing. 

ZIEGLER: Where is his plant located? 

GERRY: Pico Rivera, just north of Whittier Boulevard, I 

believe. 

ZIEGLER: I wonder if we could talk a little more about 

commercial printing. You have done a fair amount, judging 

from the things I saw at the Clark. Well, I don't quite 

know by what measure you would say what is a fair amount, 

but I noticed you have done quite a few jobs. Some of the 

things I saw were Christmas cards and stationery, catalogs, 

gallery announcements, wine and food labels, 

advertisements, campaign literature for David Hitchcock. 

Are there others? 

GERRY: No, that sounds about it. A lot of it was done for 



152 



friends. Or people would say, "Oh, you're a printer! I 
want you to do a letterhead for me." Well, usually when I 
did most of those things, it was because I was trying to 
make the shop pay for itself, so I wouldn't turn down 
anything. But nowadays I don't worry about that, and if 
people want letterheads done, they really have to twist my 
arm or catch me off guard. In fact, I can't do them 
because I don't even have a press to do them on anymore. 
ZIEGLER: It looked to me like you did a fair amount of 
commercial printing for people at the Disney Studios. 
GERRY: Yes, there was one customer I had who was very 
helpful in helping to support the press. He would do a lot 
of joking. He was a writer, a screenwriter, and he was 
constantly playing practical jokes on his friends. 
ZIEGLER: Who was that? 

GERRY: His name was Larry Clemmons. He wrote a lot of 
cartoons, and he used to begin-- He had worked at the 
studio in the early thirties, and then he left the studio 
and came back in the fifties I think. He was primarily 
writing Walt [Disney] 's introductions to the television 
shows, and then he got into the cartoon department and was 
our chief writer for years. So he was always coming to me 
because he wanted to play this joke on somebody. They were 
usually very inside jokes that required a special 
letterhead, and he would write up this letter and then mail 



153 



it to this particular person. In one instance, we actually 
faked a column in the Hollywood Reporter . I printed it on 
a piece of coated paper, and we tore it and we imitated 
their style of printing just as much as I could and 
everything just as much as we could. We did a lot of 
that. Larry did a lot of that stuff. Sometimes I'd make 
linoleum cuts for the letterheads. He got a great deal of 
enjoyment out of that, and he always paid me to do it. I 
mean, I can't think that it was that much money, but we did 
a lot of that sort of thing. I can't remember any 
particular one. There was one from the Lompoc Jail. The 
letterhead said Lompoc Jail, so-and-so street. And it had 
some device on there that was like a jail. 
ZIEGLER: That must have been a bit of a shock for the 
person who got it. These elaborate practical jokes 
happened every so often around the Disney Studios, didn't 
they? I read somewhere- - 

GERRY: Yeah, I think they did. I think all the studios — 
Everybody jokes around wherever they work, I think. But 
these were somewhat more elaborate. Maybe because the 
group of guys he was with were always doing that, making 
jokes about whatever picture they were working on or 
whatever pictures they were rumored to be working on. 
Whatever would come up to suggest a joke. 

I really didn't do too much-- I was intrigued with 



154 



designing commercial printing for quite a while. When I 
was in art school, I think I did some. In advertising- 
design classes, I did some typography for commercial 
work. Until I got interested in books, that's about all I 
was interested in, an advertising sort of typography. 
ZIEGLER: And what would you say the main considerations 
are for commercial printing? I would guess that they're 
different from the considerations for books. 
GERRY: Well, probably the tyranny of the times, of the 
fashion, is probably what leads you in that kind of 
printing. Everybody is following the lead guy, whoever 
everybody admires, because that is what the customers 
want. So I think that would probably be the foremost, and 
then I think you probably want to have-- Whereas in the 
case of the book you are trying not to divert the person 
away, not trying to catch the person's eye with the 
typography, you are trying to in advertising. You are 
trying to compete with everybody else around there. You 
want something that's going to catch the person's eye. I 
think they're all designed to reach the audience they're 
looking for. Mail-order ads don't look that way because 
the designer didn't know any better; they look that way 
because that ' s what the people they ' re trying to reach 
expect a mail-order ad to look like. I learned that in 
advertising school. [laughter] Advertising art. 



155 



TAPE NUMBER: V, SIDE ONE 
MAY 18, 1989 

ZEIGLER: Our last interview we talked some about different 
book designers and illustrators that you particularly 
admired, but you were going to think of some more and we 
were going to talk some more about that this time. 
GERRY: Okay. I think the ones I admire the most are the 
ones that probably everyone else does. We may have already 
mentioned them, but certainly [William A.] Dwiggins and 
Bruce Rogers and [Peter] Bielenson of the Peter Pauper 
Press are who I admire. And I have probably stolen from 
them as much as anybody else. Of course there is Oliver 
Simon of the Curwen Press. I very much admire the work 
that the Curwen Press did, as well as some other English 
presses. But mostly the Curwen Press. Then also another 
one would be the Nonesuch Press, with Francis Meynell as 
the designer, I'm not saying they've really-- They've 
influenced me indirectly. 

ZEIGLER: You've learned from them, yeah. 
GERRY: They've given me good examples. Then I think I 
should probably also mention Stanley Morison, who initiated 
the types that we like the best, that have stood up the 
longest in the twentieth century, that he had made for the 
Monotype [Corporation] in England. Those are types we all 
know and admire the most. So I think I should give him a 

156 



line of credit as someone establishing something to look up 
to. 

ZEIGLER: Could you say a little more about the style that 
you especially admire at the Curwen Press and the Nonesuch 
Press? 

GERRY: I guess you'd have to say it was twentieth-century 
style, probably, with a little modern art influence in 
it. The combination of type and decoration, or type and 
pictorial matter, appeals to me. And Curwen did a lot of 
that. I think those are the most influential. Now, I 
didn't mention--but, of course, I have mentioned also 
before--the local people. They probably directly 
influenced my work more because we work with the same kind 
of materials. They would be Ward Ritchie and Grant 
Dahlstrom and even Saul Marks to a good extent--although I 
always felt that Saul Marks was a little bit beyond 
reach. But Ward and Grant had-- They were more like real 
printers. There was something there that was tangible that 
I might achieve. I might do something like they did, 
although I never did, but at least I thought I could. The 
use of the Linotype machine and the small caps and the 
italic in roman and one single face. It was what these 
three men did. I mean, not that other people didn't do it 
also, but that was the book-oriented influence they had on 
California printers. Southern California printers. I think 



157 



I should mention those. 

ZEIGLER: Why do you describe Saul Marks as beyond reach? 
What do you mean by that? 

GERRY: He was just so good, such a great printer, such a 
perfect printer, that I would tend to back off and say, 
"Gee, that's nice, but I would never be able to do anything 
like that." It's perfect presswork, much better presswork 
than the other two fellows, Ritchie and Dahlstrom. But, of 
course, Saul did everything himself. Whereas Ritchie and 
Dahlstrom had employees to do the work, and they turned out 
a larger volume of work than Saul ever did. Saul's work 
was practically hand printed. He also took advantage of 
using the Monotype machine to set the type, which gave him 
the faces and a much better-- The machine had much less 
limitations than the Linotype machine. It took a lot more 
work, but he was willing to do that to get the better 
looking printing. And he had access, of course, to the 
faces. I mention that Morison had supervised the 
designing. That would be Bembo, Arrighi, Poliphilus. I 
guess Times roman. I'm sure I'm leaving out some. 
Fournier. All Monotype faces. I'm sure I've left some 
out. I guess I've explained why. 

ZEIGLER: How well did you know Saul Marks? Did you even 
work with him? 
GERRY: I didn't know Saul Marks. I don't think he would 



158 



ever remember my name. I talked to him. He was a member 

of the Rounce and Coffin Club. I did talk to him a couple 

of times. I went to his shop once to get some advice on a 

printing press. And like I said before, he once defended 

one of my books at the Western Books Exhibition. 

ZEIGLER: Yeah, you mentioned that, that he convinced them 

that it was a book. 

GERRY: But I didn't know him. He died in '74, about the 

time I was just getting started. 

ZEIGLER: You've had more contact with Lillian Marks, 

though, haven't you? I think you mentioned that. 

GERRY: No, not really so much. She went out of business 

about the time Pat [Patrick Reagh] and I started. We 

bought her press, the Heidelberg cylinder press, and then 

she stayed in business for a while doing small-order 

things. I think she wanted to retire. Eventually, she 

sold off her shop. 

ZEIGLER: Could you say a little more about your contact 

with Ward Ritchie? Have you ever done any joint projects 

with him? 

GERRY: No, I never really worked with Ward. He was a guy 

I had never met . I had sent out a brochure for a book I ' d 

done. The [ Ernest A. ] Lindner Collection of Antique 

[ Printing ] Machinery . Ward was on one of the mailing 

lists. And, lo and behold, one day this man comes up the 



159 



driveway of my house. I was just about to go off on a 
bicycle ride. This man came up the driveway and he said, 
"I'm Ward Ritchie." I'd never met him; I'd always heard 
about him. I was really astounded, so I took him in and 
showed him my shop. He was going to buy the book and he 
didn't have any change, so I said, "Well, just take it and 
pay me some other time." He said, "I'll send you some 
books." So he sent me a book that he did called Influences 
on California Printing , or something like that, that he 
printed. It was a couple of-- One of the papers that he 
read and then one that James D. Hart read. And in it he 
had the bibliography of the Primavera Press, which was a 
press that Jake [Zeitlin] had started. They'd had a little 
partnership. 

ZEIGLER: Who was Jake's printer? Who was the printer for 
the Primavera Press? Did he print himself at all? 
GERRY: No. Jake never printed. I don't think Jake was at 
all handy with his hands. He was a poet and a book 
salesman, I mean a bookseller. I don't think he was much 
on handiwork. As far as the Primavera Press goes, I think 
Ward printed some of them but not all of them. They were, 
as I understand it, always looking for a cheaper printer. 
They even got the Business Printers in Pasadena, which 
later was the home office of the San Pasqual Press, to do 
some work for Primavera. Two or three books they did. 



160 



China Boy was one. But I think Ward was likely to be in 
charge of the design of the books for Primavera. Besides 
the Primavera Press, which finally went under around 1939, 
Jake published a lot of books, and he used the local 
printers. He was very good to printers, and when Pat and I 
started in ' 80 or '81, he had a large book for us to do. 
Letters of Saint Jerome , which was a leaf book. He spent a 
lot of money on that, and he had a lot of trouble with 
that, too, in that he had Max Adjarian bind it and they had 
some kind of terrible fight over the quality of the 
binding. 

ZEIGLER: Who were the binders? 

GERRY: Max Adjarian. He lives up in middle California 
somewhere. Then after the book was all set and corrected, 
we found it had never been edited, so it had to go through 
and be edited. There were a lot of problems, for Jake as 
well as for everyone else, but he was the one who had to 
pay for them. He was good to everybody. Grant printed 
books for him. Ward printed books for him, and of course 
Saul printed books for him, as well as others. 
ZEIGLER: For the tape, let's say what a leaf book is. I 
think I understand. It's a leaf from an old book, and then 
a commentary has been written on it and it gets like a 
folder containing that leaf plus the commentary. Is that 
right? 



161 



GERRY: Yes, that's right. This particular book had three 
essays on the letters of Saint Jerome. And the printed 
sheet that was included-- I remember going to Jake's when 
they tore this book apart that was printed in 1468, I 
believe, very soon after the beginnings of printing. He 
was pulling the book apart to get the leaves out of it. It 
was not often-- Probably never in my life will I ever sit 
down again with someone and pull apart a fifteenth-century 
book. 

ZEIGLER: Yeah. Was it an incomplete copy? 
GERRY: Yes. 

ZEIGLER: That's sort of understandable, then, if you don't 
have a complete copy. 

GERRY: Right, right. I don't mean tearing, ripping. I 
just mean pulling it apart carefully. And Jake said, "Go 
through here and pick out the leaf you would like to 
have." I picked out one that had three hand- lettered 
initials on it, which I thought was very generous of him. 
ZEIGLER: Yes. So you got an original leaf from this. So 
in a leaf book, each copy of the book has a different leaf. 
GERRY: Yes, each has one leaf from the book, one page from 
the book. It's a common way of passing on-- People can get 
a taste of a famous book, or an old book from the 
incunabula, without having to afford the full book. I 
think, for instance, the Gutenberg Bible, they're selling 



162 



it by the word. 

ZEIGLER: [laughter] Not by the letter yet? 
GERRY: [laughter] No, but possibly that's the next thing. 
ZEIGLER: I think it was last interview you were talking 
about the Rounce and Coffin Club and the old days, and you 
spoke of "the big three." I wondered who you meant by 
that? 

GERRY: I guess I mean now Ward Ritchie and Saul Marks and 
Grant Dahlstrom. And of course Jake Zeitlin was someone, 
so it should be "the big four" I guess. But then Larry 
[Lawrence Clark] Powell had something to do with it. He 
was one of the earlier members, and so was Paul Landacre. 
I wasn't in on that. That was long before I started. I 
didn't get into the club until the seventies, I think. 
ZEIGLER: Well, maybe we can talk a little more about the 
Rounce and Coffin Club. What has it been doing in the time 
that you've been a member? 

GERRY: We used to do more. We used to have more meetings 
and get-togethers, and people would give a little talk or 
we'd have a dinner. But mostly what the Rounce and Coffin 
Club does is sponsor and arrange and put together the 
Western Books Exhibition, which is an exhibition of books 
made in the West. More and more books are being made all 
over the world. You might have the typesetting done in 
Texas and the printing done in Tennessee and the binding 



163 



done in Korea, or vice versa. 

ZEIGLER: So it's complicated to define a western book now? 

GERRY: So the Western Book group has argued back and forth 

as to maybe we should expand the entrance requirements so 

you can have the book printed anywhere in the world or 

bound anywhere in the world, but it has to originate in 

these western states. 

ZEIGLER: What do they think of as the cutoff point for the 

western states? 

GERRY: I wish I could tell you. 

ZEIGLER: The Mississippi? They just sort of leave it, so 

they can include what they like? 

GERRY: Maybe to New Mexico and Nevada, around those 

states. Then it goes out to, I think, Alaska and the 

Hawaiian Islands. I think that's all. 

I forget what I was saying. 
ZEIGLER: Well, you were saying how books are done all over 
the world now, so it becomes a problem to say what's a 
western book. 

GERRY: Oh, yeah. When the Western Books Exhibition 
started in 1938, the books printed in the West were not all 
that common, and they were trying to promote themselves and 
to show that, yes, the West could make books just as well 
as they could in the East. The East was, and still is, the 
big book-manufacturing part of the country. So, anyway. 



164 



recently the Western Books [Exhibition] has come to kind of 

an unwritten agreement that we're going back to the old-- 

Definitely the book has to be made and manufactured, 

designed and published in the western states. And that 

limits us in some respects, but also I think it may attract 

more local people. 

ZEIGLER: Yeah. 

GERRY: And smaller printers and limited edition printers, 

if we do that. 

ZEIGLER: Is there some sort of similar contest for the 

eastern states or for the whole United States? I'm new to 

the whole area. 

GERRY: I think that the lAGA, the International Alliance 

of Graphic Artists, has a show every year of books for the 

book show. They also do a lot of advertising-art shows. 

They are interested in graphic arts, but they also have a 

book show. To be in that is always prestigious. I guess 

not quite so much as it once was. But I remember a piece 

of ephemera that Gregg Anderson had printed, that they were 

going to kick Grant Dahlstrom out of the Rounce and Coffin 

Club because his books had appeared too frequently in the 

lAGA show and they were jealous. They were going to kick 

him out. 

ZEIGLER: [laughter] Seriously? 

GERRY: It was just a joke. It was like a broadside he had 



165 



printed announcing Grant Dahlstrom would be kicked out. 

ZEIGLER: I thought it sounded like a typical Rounce and 

Coffin Club joke. 

GERRY: Well, they don't do too much joking anymore. Not 

like they once did. 

ZEIGLER: Is there any worldwide organization that chooses 

the best books printed? 

GERRY: I'm sure there is, but I couldn't tell you which 

one. I couldn't tell you the name of it, but I'm sure 

there must be an international show somewhere. 

ZEIGLER: Could you tell me a little more about judging the 

Western Books Exhibition? Are the judges generally members 

of the Rounce and Coffin Club? 

GERRY: Judges are always members. Well, no, I won't say 

always. Sometimes there are guests invited to be judges, 

but largely they're from the Rounce and Coffin Club. And I 

think they generally try to have a printer and a 

librarian. You know, a rounded-out group, not just all 

printers or all binders or all collectors. 

ZEIGLER: Have you been a judge yourself? 

GERRY: Yeah, I've been a judge a couple of times. I like 

it especially because you can see firsthand every book 

that's been submitted. And then as far as the judging 

goes, I think everybody has their own criteria, what they 

like and what they don't like. Naturally, anything that's 



166 



printed announcing Grant Dahlstrom would be kicked out. 

ZEIGLER: I thought it sounded like a typical Rounce and 

Coffin Club joke. 

GERRY: Well, they don't do too much joking anymore. Not 

like they once did. 

ZEIGLER: Is there any worldwide organization that chooses 

the best books printed? 

GERRY: I'm sure there is, but I couldn't tell you which 

one. I couldn't tell you the name of it, but I'm sure 

there must be an international show somewhere. 

ZEIGLER: Could you tell me a little more about judging the 

Western Books Exhibition? Are the judges generally members 

of the Rounce and Coffin Club? 

GERRY: Judges are always members. Well, no, I won't say 

always. Sometimes there are guests invited to be judges, 

but largely they're from the Rounce and Coffin Club. And I 

think they generally try to have a printer and a 

librarian. You know, a rounded-out group, not just all 

printers or all binders or all collectors. 

ZEIGLER: Have you been a judge yourself? 

GERRY: Yeah, I've been a judge a couple of times. I like 

it especially because you can see firsthand every book 

that's been submitted. And then as far as the judging 

goes, I think everybody has their own criteria, what they 

like and what they don't like. Naturally, anything that's 



166 



offensive to the eye of the book lover is questioned and 
pretty much follows the traditional lines of book-printing 
design. It's not a contest; it's merely a contest to get 
in the show. There's no first, second, or third place. 
You either get in the show or you don't. So there are 
usually around fifty books from the West that make it. And 
out of those I'd say, depending on the year-- There are not 
that many rejects, I don't think. Out of fifty books, 
there might be ten rejects. If there are fifty books that 
are going to be in the show, there might be ten on the 
other table that have been rejected. And you can argue 
these books as many times as you want with the other 
members if you feel they should be in. So it's a pretty 
good system. Sometimes you vote by a one to ten, or you 
just vote in and out. It depends on whoever is running the 
judging that year. They usually set up the criteria, how 
to judge it. But in the end, it's pretty much up to each 
individual's taste. What he thinks is right. 
ZEIGLER: Yeah. What do you mean when you say offensive to 
the eye of a book lover? 

GERRY: Well, as in the margins are not traditional or the 
margins are distracting. If the pages bounce up and down 
because the book wasn't folded right or wasn't printed 
exactly right. Or oddities of lettering. Or peculiar uses 
of type, I suppose. 



167 



ZEIGLER: I'd like to have you look at the printing of the 
[UCLA] library school students and tell us which would get 
in and which wouldn't. [laughter] 

GERRY: I liked all those examples I saw in the hallway. 
Those were very good. 

A lot of times judges tend to reject books because 
they're ordinary, and then you have to argue the book in. 
So ordinary is not a reason to reject a book. Dahlstrom 
said, "If the book meets its typographical responsi- 
bilities, it's a successful book." And so just because a 
book doesn't knock your eyes out--like a Saul Marks book or 
a Bruce Rogers book--doesn' t mean it should be rejected 
just because it's not as breathtaking. 

ZEIGLER: By "meets its typographical responsibilities," 
you mean essentially what Beatrice Warde said, that it 
conveys the content without distracting from the content. 
GERRY: Yes. I've seen books rejected that had a very 
difficult subject matter with thousands of pictures with 
many notations. The judge tends to look at this book and 
think, "This is a boring book." But the man who designed 
it put in a great deal of effort to make you be able to 
even comprehend what he's got in there. Like, say, for 
instance, if it's a book on seashells or something of that 
nature, well, you've got thousands and thousands of shells 
that all have to be arranged with notes and text and 



168 



figures on every one. It's a very difficult book to 
design, but it's never going to look as good as — It's 
never going to make you say, "Wow, what a title page! It 
looks just like a Bruce Rogers. It's a beautiful thing." 
But it has lived up to its typographical responsi- 
bilities. Judges want every book to look like a Grabhorn 
[Press] or a Saul Marks. There aren't that many that look 

that way. 

ZEIGLER: As you say, a lot of them have no particular 
reason to look that way. But what about something that 
really, maybe, offends the canons of how you make a book, 
but seems to be doing it for a deliberate artistic 
reason? I mean, say it has very narrow margins because for 
some reason the printer thought it would convey the idea 
that he wanted to have a very solidly printed page with no 

white on it. 

GERRY: I think more and more books are being accepted that 
wouldn't have been accepted in the past, that are 
innovative. We may have been more cautious in the past. 
We do accept-- I think the judges accept books that are 
more on the bizarre side, with plastic covers and spiral- 
bound and with a multitude of different mediums, silk- 
screening and hand stenciling. And picture books, maybe, 
that might not qualify. 
ZEIGLER: What about the whole realm of artists' books? 



169 



You get some really weird things in that because it's not 

really a book so much as it is a sculpture. 

GERRY: I think we're going to see--I hope to see--more of 

those come the way of the Western Books. I guess the main 

reason they won't is because a lot of those are only one 

copy. They are one-of-a-kind books; they're not really 

published. 

ZEIGLER: Do you have a rule that it has to have been 

produced in multiple copies? 

GERRY: It's an unwritten rule, I think. I tend to think 

of books that are published in a number. I mean, the 

number could be twenty- five, but one book I think falls 

into the realm of an object of art rather than a book. 

ZEIGLER: What are some of the most outstanding books or 

books that you especially remember from either the years 

you were judging or from any other Western Books 

Exhibitions? 

GERRY: Gosh, I don't think I could-- There were so many of 

them. I really couldn't say. I'd have to have a list or 

go through the collection. I'm sure there's one that I 

could mention, but I can't right offhand. 

ZEIGLER: Yeah, I didn't give you forewarning about this 

question. Los Angeles is really a pretty major center of 

printing in the United States now, isn't it? Of fine 

printing or limited edition printing, isn't it? 



170 



GERRY: Well, yes. I think there are a lot of people who 
do hand printing that do fine hand printing and fine hand 
binding here in Los Angeles. But it's usually very, very 
limited work. I mean limited production. The fine 
printers that do books, with the exception of Pat Reagh, 
are all offset printers, which is not to say that is 
wrong. It's just a different technology than we are used 
to. There are very few books printed letterpress 
anymore. So we're just waiting for some innovator, I 
think, to come along and exploit the offset process and 
make it really work in the book field and amaze us. Well, 
like some of the people doing letterpress had in the 
past. At least that's what I'm waiting for. I often think 
I'll try it myself, but I haven't. There are lots of 
binders around here that are really terrific binders and a 
lot of really terrific printers. Most of the fine printers 
do not turn out that much work. Pat Reagh 's the only one I 
can think of. He has to do, like I guess they all had to 
do, a volume of commercial work to support themselves. The 
books just don't come around that often to be printed. 
ZEIGLER: Can you form some sense of what other areas in 
the West are major printing centers on the basis of your 
involvement with the Western Books Exhibition? 
GERRY: Well, San Francisco for sure. They have always 
been tops in fine printing in California and I think in 



171 



even the western states. They don't seem to be doing quite 
as much as they had in the past, yet they still are 
going. The Arion Press and Wesley Tanner and Jack [W.] 
Stauffacher. Jack Stauffacher probably isn't as active as 
he once was, but certainly Wesley Tanner and a number of 
others whose names I can't remember are active in San 
Francisco. 
ZEIGLER: Have you met some of these San Francisco 

printers? 

GERRY: Yes, Wesley Tanner I've met. I knew Adrian Wilson 

for a little bit. I don't think he knew my name, but we 

had talked together a couple of times. Right in the middle 

of the Grabhorns? That's about all. 

ZEIGLER: Let's see, I had here a list of printers in the 

Los Angeles area that I was going to ask about. And some 

of these may be, sort of, before your time, but-- Well, 

we've already talked about a lot of them too, but did you 

ever know Gregg Anderson? 

GERRY: No, Gregg I didn't know. I just knew of him. See, 

he was killed in the war. 

ZEIGLER: Yeah, he died pretty young, didn't he? 

GERRY: He was maybe not forty yet when he died in World 

War II. 

ZEIGLER: And that was just about the time you were 

starting out as an apprentice with Grant, wasn't it' 



172 



-o 



GERRY: Yeah, I guess so. He died in the D day landing, so 

he was in the army when I started with Grant. I don't 

know, I guess it was a patriotic thing, because he was not 

a young man. He was younger than Grant, but he was 

probably in his late thirties when he went into the army on 

a volunteer basis. And he seemed to enjoy it from the 

letters I've read. But I didn't know him, just knew of 

him. 

ZEIGLER: Did you know Alvin Lustig? 

GERRY: No, Alvin was before my time. By the time I became 

aware of Alvin, he was a top designer in New York and one 

that our advertising-design teachers would often refer to 

when I was in school at the Chouinard school [Chouinard Art 

Institute] . Lustig was kind of a real hot-dog designer 

then. 

ZEIGLER: What about Merle Armitage? 

GERRY: No, Armitage I never knew either. 

ZEIGLER: He tended to do very melodramatic things, didn't 

he? 

GERRY: Well, he tended to do what he called modern books, 

design modern books. He liked to use sans serif types in 

his books. Although Grant claims that Armitage in the late 

twenties had given a lecture called "The Heritage of Modern 

Art" or something-- forgive me on the title--and had decided 

to have it printed. Grant Dahlstrom designed it, and it 



173 



was designed-- What Merle wanted was something very modern, 

and Grant designed this. Grant always claimed that's where 

Merle got all of his ideas for how he would design the rest 

of his books, from this thing that Grant had done. But I 

don't know how true that is or not. It was called-- What 

was it? The Heritage of Art or something. Grant designed 

it, and I think they printed it at [Bruce] McCallister ' s. 

ZEIGLER: I may have seen it at the Clark, but I don't 

remember the title. 

GERRY: It's all in black with a little white pasted label 

on the cover. It's a black paper cover with a little white 

pasted label done by Grace Marion Brown, some design she 

did. 

ZEIGLER: I haven't heard of her. Could you tell me a 

little about her? 

GERRY: I know absolutely nothing about her, I'm sorry. I 

just associate her name with that particular book, which is 

really a booklet or a pamphlet. I think she designed a 

cricket or a grasshopper, some sort of bug, for Jake 

Zeitlin. And he used it as his trademark off and on. 

That's all I know of her. 

ZEIGLER: Let's see, would you have known Bruce 

McCallister, or was he too early for you? 

GERRY: He may have come into the shop there when I was 

working for Grant in the forties, but I don't remember 



174 



him. I just, you know, know of him. Grant used to talk 

very highly of him. Grant had spent a large part of his 

career in conjunction with Bruce McCallister. I think from 

'27 to '43, they worked together off and on. 

ZEIGLER Do you have some sense of what his influence was 

on Los Angeles printing? 

GERRY: Yeah, he was a promoter of fine printing, and at 

every opportunity he produced fine printing, but he was 

himself not so much a printer as he was a good 

businessman. But what he knew, he knew good printing when 

he saw it. That's why he latched onto Grant when Grant 

came to California, and forever after whatever McCallister 

did that stands out was designed by Grant for him. 

ZEIGLER: Well, first of all, something I've been kind of 

curious about is it seems that within the Los Angeles area, 

Pasadena is really a center for printers. Why do you think 

that is? 

GERRY: I'd never thought of that. Well, there was the 

first Castle Press with Roscoe Thomas and House Olson-- 

Olson was a darned good typographer- -and then Grant took 

that over. Then there was [Scott E.] Haselton. He's the 

only other printer who did books that I know of in 

Pasadena. 

ZEIGLER: Well, and then there's you. 

GERRY: Yeah, but I was a lot later. See, they'd all-- 



175 



Well, no. Grant was printing. The Castle Press is still 
going with its third set of owners--and very successfully, 
I might add--up in Altadena. I guess it's still Pasadena. 
ZEIGLER: Has the Castle Press maintained any continuity of 
style through its different owners, or has it really sort 
of become a different press with each different set of 
owners? 

GERRY: I think it's really become a very expanded press. 
They do a lot more color work and less bookwork. But 
whenever they do books, they do-- If there's any 
continuity, I think it goes through George Kinney. He's 
fond of fine printing. Although he is more of a commercial 
printer, he's very fond of fine printing. He's had his 
hand in fine printing, having apprenticed, I think, 
somewhat with Paul Bailey of the Western Lore Press. But 
Elva Marshall is usually the designer. She's been with the 
Castle Press quite a number of years and was a long time 
with Grant. She does most of the designing when it comes 
to books , I don ' t think that George seeks out books to do 
like, say, for instance. Grant did. But as for printers of 
Pasadena, I don't know. Other than Haselton-- 
ZEIGLER: It's also been a center for bibliophiles, too, 
hasn't it? 

GERRY: Well, the Huntington Library. 
ZEIGLER: Lawrence Clark Powell was there. And the 



176 



Huntington and Occidental College have been a center for 
interest. 

GERRY: Well, I guess you could say Clyde Browne [Abbey of 
San Encino Press] was pretty close to Pasadena, being in 
Garvanza, which is like on the outskirts of Pasadena near 
Highland Park, adjacent to Pasadena. Then I guess there 
were some printers out by Claremont, the Saunders Studio 
Press, and Thomas Williams and the Fine Arts Press was in 
Santa Ana. I guess it was. But that's all I can think of 
in Pasadena. 

ZEIGLER: Well, could you talk a little about some of the 
booksellers you've known? We've already mentioned quite a 
few of them, Jake Zeitlin and Glen Dawson and Jim [James 
E.] Lorson. Could you maybe tell a little more about them 
and any others and sort of what you think their influence 
is on printing in Los Angeles? 

GERRY: Oh, certainly the Dawsons are very influential in 
that they do-- I don't mean to say that they influence the 
way printing looks, but they publish quite a bit of 
material and they use local printers, Los Angeles and 
Pasadena printers. They're the friends of printers. The 
bookshop itself is a friend. It has a fine printing 
department, books about printing, books about books. And 
like I say, they sent a lot of printing work out in terms 
of books like-- The Baja California travel series is going 



177 



on and on. I can't remember how many of them there are. 
There might be sixty of them. Then there are a number of 
informal series on Los Angeles artists. Somebody local 
will print those. I've printed one. Dick [Richard] 
Hoffman prints an awful lot of books where they-- 
ZEIGLER: Which is the one you printed? 
GERRY: I did one called House Olson, [ Printer ] . 
ZEIGLER: Oh, yeah. 

GERRY: That David W. Davies wrote. And I designed one 
about Ward Ritchie that Pat Reagh printed and Davies 
wrote. There may be another one I was involved with. I 
can't remember right off. And also Dawson's easily handles 
the kinds of books I like to buy. So I think they're very 
influential. Now Jake is gone and the store is gone. But 
he was the same way. He was very friendly to local 
printers, printers who did good work. He always tried to 
help them by giving them jobs or giving them books to do. 
ZEIGLER: Would it be fair to say that Dawson's and Jake 
Zeitlin's, between them, have done a lot to teach Los 
Angeles printers about the whole tradition of printing? 
GERRY: Right. By making books available for sale that are 
on the subject and by having people give talks at the 
bookstore. I mean, I'm sure that's good business, but it's 
also very promotional of good printing. 
ZEIGLER: Yes. 



178 



GERRY: I think Jim [James E.] Lorson to a certain extent 
does the same thing, although he's a newer book dealer. 
He's in Fullerton, but he sought me out and bought books 
from me and is still trying to sell some of them. He has 
had a few things published. We did a leaf book for him. I 
designed it and Pat printed it. It was an extensive leaf 
book. I mean, it might have been rather a large, 
inexpensive book on Mercator, and it had a map as a leaf. 
ZEIGLER: That was a famous early atlas, wasn't it? 
GERRY: Right. And other things Jim has published and had 
other local printers do for him. 

ZEIGLER: Is there any other bookseller around who is sort 
of playing the same role that Jim Lorson is playing? 
GERRY: Well, Bill [William] Dailey, I think, has the kind 
of shop that has the books in it. He's just so far away 
that I hardly ever go there. I mean, to me far away is way 
out on Melrose [Avenue] . 

ZEIGLER: Yeah, I go to Dailey 's [William and Victoria 
Dailey Rare Books and Fine Prints] quite a bit. 
GERRY: Dailey encourages printers. He did a lot of stuff 
to get Pat going. 

ZEIGLER: Last time I was there, he had a beautiful bag 
that had a print of a mountain scene on it. I wondered who 
printed that. I wonder if you happen to know. 
GERRY: A bag? You mean like a paper bag? 



179 



ZEIGLER: Just a paper bag to put your purchase in, but it 

was so beautifully printed that I asked for an extra one. 

GERRY: He might have done it himself. He has his own 

printshop. 

ZEIGLER: Oh, I didn't know that. 

GERRY: I suppose there are others around. I can't-- 

ZEIGLER: What about the — ? There's a collection of 

bookstores in Santa Monica now. Do they get involved at 

all in printing activities or encouraging printing? 

GERRY: Kenneth Karmiole has printed a number of leaf 

books, and I think Pat has printed at least two of them, 

Pat Reagh. And George [J.] Houle sometimes publishes 

something. I can't really say much more than that. 

ZEIGLER: Would you say there is anyone who looks like 

being the successor to Jake Zeitlin? Sort of stepping into 

the enormous role that he played in the book world in Los 

Angeles? 

GERRY: Oh, I don't know. I guess the closest thing would 

be Jeff Weber, who worked for Jake for so many years. He 

now has his own bookshop. Now, whether he aspires to be 

like Jake or not, I don't know. I know he has some nice 

books like Jake used to have. He doesn't have a junky 

stock. I shouldn't say junky. His books tend to be the 

higher-priced books, like Jake often had. 

ZEIGLER: Does he have printing done for him? I've seen a 



180 



few of his catalogs at the Clark. They're very handsomely 

produced catalogs. 

GERRY: Oh, I think he tends to go to offset printers for a 

catalog, naturally. Yes, he's given me work designing some 

things for him. 

ZEIGLER: What are some of the things? 

GERRY: Well, I did a little map of how to get to his house 

where he has his bookshop. I can't remember. Odds and 

ends of things for him. 

ZEIGLER: Could you tell me-- 

GERRY: But whether he wants to be like Jake or not, I 

don't know. I'm just saying that he learned his trade from 

Jake, but he did not buy any of the stock or get any breaks 

from Jake's estate. He started from scratch himself. 

ZEIGLER I guess there are quite a few people about whom 

you could say they learned their trade from Jake, aren't 

there? With the San Pasqual Press, Laura Dorothy Bevis-- 



181 



TAPE NUMBER: V, SIDE TWO 
MAY 18, 1989 

ZEIGLER: Okay, I mistakenly said that Laura Dorothy Bevis 
worked for Zeitlin, and you pointed out that she worked for 
Dawson's. Well, maybe you can think of other people that 
have worked for either Zeitlin or Dawson's or any of these 
other booksellers. 

GERRY: Well, Jake seems to have made more book dealers 
than anybody else, at least to my knowledge. Now, Gary 
Steiger worked for Jake for a while. Then he left for the 
East — I wish I could say where, Iowa or something like 
that- -where he has a bookstore. Then Michael Thompson 
apprenticed with Jake, and he has a store on Melrose 
[Avenue], a bookstore. And Jeff Weber. And there were a 
couple of others who worked with Jake and went off and 
started their own bookstores. So he must have made it seem 
like it's fun to have a bookstore. 

ZEIGLER: [laughter] I never met him. I gather he was a 
very enthusiastic and fun-loving man. Was he? 
GERRY: Yeah. Of course, when I knew him he was in his 
later years. But he loved a good joke, and he was very 
generous and warm. And I was always amazed that he knew 
almost everybody in the world, but in a very unimpressive 
way. I mean to say he was not a name-dropper or 
anything. He seemed to know everybody and to treat 

182 



everybody equally, no matter what their status. 

I remember Dreyfus had come to town for some reason, 
John Dreyfus, and Jake--this was soon after Grant died — 
wanted to have a breakfast in his honor. So he invited Pat 
and myself down to the Scandia restaurant for breakfast 
with John Dreyfus. I guess it would be a brunch. They had 
a number of people there. I brought along Mrs. Dahlstrom, 
who was a friend of Dreyfus and she wanted to see him. 
Grant had died maybe only months before. So I brought her 
along. He was generous in that sort of way, getting people 
together. 

But I'll tell you, he was a shrewd book dealer. I 
always love to tell the story that he had contacted me to 
do a compliment card with a little envelope. It was a very 
simple job, but we hashed it over a couple of times and I 
was in the mood one gets in- -no matter what business 
they're in--that they're not going to be taken for a ride 
on this job. They're going to charge what the job is 
worth. Occasionally it comes across, for instance in mine, 
that they've been cheating themselves. So I'm going to 
charge Jake what this job was worth. And it's a very 
insignificant job. These little cards with his name on it 
and "the compliments of" and an envelope with his name 
printed on it. It was in two colors. So I said, "Jake, 
this is $45." And he said, "Oh? Well, hmm. Okay." 



183 



So later on I was out in the shop-- No, I guess I had 
been waiting for him. He was busy. I was looking around 
the shop and I found a stack of three magazines. They were 
French magazines on books called The Garden of Books , 
something like that. I said, "Jake, look at these 
magazines. These are really nice, but there's no price on 
them. What are they going to cost me?" He said, "Let me 
look at those. Oh, I think $45." [laughter] 
ZEIGLER: So you just traded. 

GERRY: It was the only thing in the bookstore that didn't 
have a price on it, and I picked it. But then I said, 
"Jake, what should I do with these? I think I'll rebind 
these." "No, don't do that. Just make a slipcase for 
them." So that's what I did. So he gave me $45 worth of 
advice. 

ZEIGLER: You've done several printing jobs for Jake. I 
think there was a brochure on Paul Landacre, was it? 
GERRY: Right, I also did a Piranesi catalog for him. That 
was done when I was in Fallbrook, and Pall [W.] Bohne did 
all the photography work. I remember these Piranesi 
etchings were lying around-- Not lying around, but they 
were in Pall's shop for months. And I kept asking the girl 
that was doing the catalog for Jake, Carolyn Bullard, 
"Don't you think we should get those out of there? Don't 
you think you should get them back to the shop?" "No, 



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they're okay, they're okay." Well, it turns out they were, 
but there were thousands of dollars ' worth of these prints 
just stored in his office there. So anyway, there was no 
problem. I worked with a local printer in Fallbrook, an 
offset printer. I set the type, printed it, pasted it up, 
and then they stripped in photographs of the prints. Then 
they printed, trimmed, and shipped the whole catalog for 
me. I think I did that on both the Landacre and the 
Piranesi catalog. And Carol had the idea for the cover of 
it. There was a Piranesi print that covered the whole 
cover, and then I superimposed the title. 
ZEIGLER: Yeah, I remember the cover was very nice. 
GERRY: But all the typesetting, that I did. I suppose I 
did a few other things. I never did a book for him. 
Usually when somebody comes to me and asks for a book, I 
don't have the equipment or the time. Something gets in 
the way. 

ZEIGLER: Could you say some about the role of different 
institutions in the Los Angeles area and encouraging 
printers and encouraging interest in fine books? Maybe the 
Clark Library, the Huntington Library, Occidental College, 
and any others you can think of. 

GERRY: Well, certainly the Clark. I mean, they have a big 
collection of material. Like even some of the job 
envelopes from my press they've got. I mean, they're that 



185 



detailed in their collection of Los Angeles printers, as 

well as other printers. I think that [William Andrews] 

Clark [Jr.] himself was interested in fine printing, having 

had John Henry Nash do a lot of printing for him. 

ZEIGLER: Yeah. 

GERRY: So I think the tradition that he established has 

carried on, and a lot of fine-print, bookish events take 

place at the Clark. And they have a lecture series. As 

far as the Huntington goes, I don't really know. The 

Huntington to me is much more of a corporation. 

ZEIGLER: How so? 

GERRY: Well, maybe it's because I don't know so many 

people there, but it seems like-- 

ZEIGLER: Is Ed [Edwin H.] Carpenter there? 

GERRY: Ed's there, yeah. But I think he's retired. I 

mean, he is retired, but he does some things on a retainer 

basis of some kind. He also gives lectures for the 

Huntington. He is also very big on the history of the 

Huntingtons, and he gives talks on that for which he is 

paid. Or the Huntington pays him to give the talks, I 

don ' t know . 

ZEIGLER: He's been very interested in your printing, 

hasn't he? 

GERRY: He has been more interested than anybody. I mean, 

he came to my place one time and he wanted some ephemera. 



186 



So I said, "Here's this, here's that. Oh, look, there's 

this whole drawer full of stuff here. Take this, take 

that." And his eyes lighted up and he wanted to pay me for 

it. I said, "Well, no, this is just ephemeral stuff I give 

away." Well, he insisted on paying for it. So he's 

interested in the littlest details about ephemera printing, 

when it was done or who did it. And he has a tremendous 

collection. In his house is a library. 

ZEIGLER: Well, just because it's ephemera doesn't mean 

that it's not good printing. Often it's some of the best 

printing, don't you think? 

GERRY: Oh, definitely. But I certainly didn't intend it 

to be paid for. So he asked me a curious question the 

other day. I'm starting another little press in the 

backyard. I had fooled around trying to get this press 

working. I printed up a sample of ornaments I had 

designed, and Ed said to me the other day, "Was that the 

first imprint of this particular Weather Bird Press?" And 

I never thought of it. Yes, it was. 

ZEIGLER: [laughter] Yeah, bibliophiles expend great 

effort trying to find out that sort of thing. Printers 

ought to record it for them. 

GERRY: Yeah, they love to do that sleuthing. So yes, it 

was. 

ZEIGLER: Going back to the Clark--which, of course. 



187 



especially interests me — you've done some work for the 
Clark. I know you did the owl, didn't you? 
GERRY: Oh, yes, John Bidwell — I can't remember when he 
started, but it was just around the time that Pat and I got 
together in the early eighties — '80 or '81 — John contacted 
me to do wood engraving for the Clark. It was sort of a 
rush. No, it wasn't a rush. I just didn't feel I had 
time. But, nevertheless, I did two of them that were the 
owl, but kind of untraditional sort of. In one the owl was 
being squashed by books . 
ZEIGLER: Yeah. [laughter] 

GERRY: Then I can't remember what the other one was, but 
it said Clark Library on it. So they accepted the wood 
engravings. He wanted something a little more light- 
hearted and less nineteenth century than the design they 
have. But this is not to replace; it's just to supplement 
it. So they used it on lighter things. 
ZEIGLER: Yeah, I know we use it on our pads of paper. 
GERRY: Oh, really? 

ZEIGLER: It looks cute with books falling on the owl. Has 
John Bidwell encouraged you to do a lot of other work? I 
think you mentioned that he talked you into doing the map 
for the Bibliophiles Association ["A Bibliophile's Map of 
Los Angeles" ] . 
GERRY: Yeah, John's the guy who promotes. He usually has 



188 



some things printed by Patrick. I mean, his own personal 
Christmas cards he has printed by Pat Reagh. John 
encourages printers. John I don't think is much interested 
in printing himself. I don't mean to say that he has to 
have his own printshop in his backyard or anything like 
that. He's got too many business-- Or not business, but-- 
He's the editor of some nineteenth-century works on 
printing that are done by the Garland Press. He has plenty 
and plenty, more than enough bibliography work without 
trying to print it also. So that's really his field. But 
he does like fine printing. He promoted some printing that 
Patrick and I did for the Clark. Patrick still prints for 
the Clark, largely due to John's influence I think. His 
high recommendation. 

ZEIGLER: Yeah. Well, librarians have taken quite a bit of 
interest in printing and encouraged it. What about 
Lawrence Clark Powell? He was really a friend and promoter 
of Los Angeles printers. 

GERRY: Oh, yeah. And he's still-- I did a job for him not 
too long ago. 
ZEIGLER: What was that? 

GERRY: It was something for the Zamorano [Club] and 
Roxburghe [Club] meeting last year called Trans-Pacific . 
It was out of his diary about flying across the Pacific in 
1966, a booklet that Patrick and I printed for him. And 



189 



he's after me to do a book of a chapter from The Blue 
Train , which was a novel he wrote as a young man in 
Dijon. And I told him to be cautious. I have so many 
other things to do before I can get to it. He was one of 
the founders of the Rounce and Coffin Club, one of the 
supporters and the voice of printers. You know, he is 
constantly writing. I mean, he has written so many things 
that have indirectly to do with printers and printing. 
ZEIGLER: I sort of have the impression that he's another 
reason why Pasadena has been a center of printing. Because 
he grew up in Pasadena, didn't he? And encouraged printers 
there . 

GERRY: Well, I think he left Pasadena in his twenties. I 
don't think he came back to Pasadena-- Well, maybe he lived 
there. But I don't know that he encouraged any Pasadena 
printers, except for Ward. Yeah, Ward was a Pasadena 
printer for a while, in his backyard. Then he moved over 
to Los Angeles. I think he lived in Pasadena, though, or 
at least part of his life. 

ZEIGLER: What about Occidental College? Have some people 
at Occidental College played a role in encouraging 
printers? 

GERRY: Tyrus Harmsen has always been a member of the 
Rounce and Coffin Club, and he wrote the first book about- - 
The Plantin Press of Saul and Lillian Marks. I can't 



190 



remember who printed it. Grant, or maybe Saul printed it, 

I can't remember. And he's written about the Castle Press, 

and he now has the Book Arts Print Shop at Occidental, 

which comes from Andy [Andrew] Horn's equipment and some 

type he bought from Lillian Marks when she sold out her 

shop. I haven't seen any of the students' work, but I 

understand it's pretty good. A smaller-scale shop, I 

think, than you have here. 

ZEIGLER: Have you done any printing for him? 

GERRY: No, Ty started his own press, the Tiger Press, not 

too long ago, not too many years ago. And he does most of 

his own printing. As far as Occidental printing goes, I 

think Grant used to do some and Ward did some. I think 

that's all done by more commercial printers now. 

ZEIGLER: Well, moving into the area of bookmen's clubs, we 

talked a lot about the Rounce and Coffin Club. What about 

the Zamorano Club? Are you involved in that? 

GERRY: I'm not a member and I really don't know much about 

it, except that it was the first Los Angeles book club, I 

understand. 

ZEIGLER: Are there other bookmen's clubs in the area? 

GERRY: Yeah, but I'll probably give you the wrong names. 

I think there is a Book Collectors Society, and maybe one 

other. And there is the Abracadabra . That's the name of 

their publication. I don't know what the official name of 



191 



their group is [Alliance for Contemporary Book Arts], but 
Pat ' s a member of that and Susan King and I think Bonnie 
Thompson Norman. Sorry, these names don't come to me. 
Gloria-- The movie actress. [Gloria Stewart] She has a 
printshop. And I think Joe [Joseph] D'Ambrosio is also in 
that group. I've been invited, but somehow I just never 
get around to joining. One club is all I can handle. 
ZEIGLER: Yeah, especially when you get called upon to be a 
judge for the book contest every once in a while. It must 
take up a fair amount of time. 

GERRY: Or when somebody wants something printed for the 
club. 

ZEIGLER: Yeah, I guess that really keeps its members busy, 
printing all those keepsakes and announcements and 
things. Do they still print keepsakes, the Rounce and 
Coffin Club? 

GERRY: Yes, a few keepsakes come out, but not as many as 
there were at one time. Most of the printing that is 
involved is for the Western Books Exhibition. The chairman 
has to wheedle these printers into doing this every year: 
the case cards, the case, the poster, the catalog, the call 
for books, and two or three other items. She- -she being 
Elva Marshall, or whoever it might be; Elva has been the 
chairman for two or three years now- -has to twist 
everybody's arm to get them to do these things. Oh, the 



192 



award certificates too. 

ZEIGLER: Have you done a lot of that printing for the 
Western Books Exhibition? 

GERRY: Yeah. Oh, I wouldn't say a lot. I try to do my 
share, I guess I should say that. 

ZEIGLER: Let's see, maybe we could talk a little bit more 
about the economics of presses such as yours. Do you think 
that small presses and presses that try to do fine printing 
have a particular niche in the publishing world? I'm not 
sure if I phrased that question exactly right. 
GERRY: They certainly have a niche, you know, to publish 
things that might not otherwise be published. It usually 
always comes down to poetry. There are other things. 
That's their niche. And also to keep good taste in 
printing alive. And also innovation. But economically I 
don't think it's-- I would say ideally it would be more 
like Saul or Ward or Grant sets the example. The press 
functions as a commercial press, so it can sustain itself 
financially. The owner is a book-oriented printer, and he 
can run a book through his shop using his employees and do 
it economically because he can offset the costs against his 
other printing that he does. He has the trained employees 
to do the work, and they can do it in a fairly fast way, as 
opposed to doing a book and having to hire the person or 
people or the trade work to be done individually. In other 



193 



words-- I guess I don't know what I'm trying to say. But 

it seems to me that Grant and Ward had the ideal situation 

where they could- - 

ZEIGLER: Yeah, they could oversee the whole process. 

GERRY: They can oversee the whole process, but 

f inancially--if you want to talk about economics --they can 

run things through their shop more economically than some 

small little printer like myself, or say even Pat Reagh. 

Because they had a shop that was working eight hours every 

day. They could run it through in slow times when they 

might have had to pay the employees anyway. 

But I don't think anybody, any private press, is going 
to get rich. You can see the prices of some of the books 
and you think, "Gee, maybe they are going to get rich." 
But I doubt it. I think that the more higher-priced books 
are just more reasonably charged than the ones, say, that 
are practically given away. You give away your labor. You 
don ' t charge nearly as much as they should cost because you 
can't believe a book that small would cost so much. 
ZEIGLER: I guess the costs really mount up with buying all 
the paper and supplies and the amount of work you put into 
it. 

GERRY: The smaller shop like mine or I would say like Joe 
D'Ambrosio or Eric Voss-- People that work on that scale 
generally do almost all the labor themselves, and that's 



194 



free--practically — because they're all giving it away. I 
don't want to say Joe's giving it away. You're practically 
giving it away. You have to do it because you love to do 
it. You're not ever going to make any money at it. 

Now, then there are exceptions. On the outer margins 
there are people like Andrew Hoyem [of Arion Press] who 
apparently do pretty well. I mean, he's able to afford to 
keep going. He was able to buy out Mackensie and Harris, 
Typesetters, that were threatening to go under. That's at 
one end. But there aren't very many people like that. 
Also, I think selling and promoting is like anything, 
whether it ' s for Simon and Schuster or the Weather Bird 
Press. It's the same thing; you've got to sell it. And I 
think that Hoyem does a very good job at that. He's not 
only a great printer, he's a darned good salesman. Those 
are the more successful, to have those two abilities in one 
person. 

ZEIGLER: And of course selling costs you money in itself, 
just printing the prospectuses and distributing them and 
sending them out and so on. 

GERRY: And the public appearances. Is that what you meant 
by economics? 

ZEIGLER: Yes. Could you say how you go about promoting 
your books? 
GERRY: I try to send out a catalog and — I'm very poor at 



195 



this, at keeping a good list of people who have bought from 
me before: book dealers, libraries. I don't do a very good 
job of it. I like to just send out a catalog. I used to 
send out Weather Bird to people who have bought from me 
during the year and I would sent out maybe postcards. 
Personal calls, very few. It's because I don't like to do 
it that I don't do it. Personal calls do more for selling 
a book than anything else, but I just never do it. And if 
you could carry a bundle of your books into a book dealer 
who might be sympathetic, chances are you will sell one. 
But then, who is interested in selling? It isn't that much 
fun. [laughter] 

ZEIGLER: The fun is in the making. 

GERRY: Yeah. But to be successful, you've got to do 
both. I should do more. I often thought I would go once a 
year up and down the coast of California and hit all the 
bookshops that might be interested. Make a real trip out 
of it, a real selling tour. But I never do it. Because 
that could be fun also, you know. But I never get around 
to doing it. 

ZEIGLER: For instance, if it were me doing it, I would 
probably come home more broke than when I started because 
I'd buy things in each of those bookshops. 
GERRY: That's the danger of being a collector and a 
printer. I seldom go to Dawson's, to sell them a book. 



196 



that I don't buy one which is usually more expensive. 
ZEIGLER: Yeah, well, that has its dangers. Being a book 
lover is an expensive proposition. 

GERRY: Right. That's why I guess I have always had to 
work in some other field to pay for it. 

ZEIGLER: Yeah. Who would you say your customers are? I 
mean, what groups of people are customers? 
GERRY: Libraries. I used to have a list I'd send out of 
who were pretty good buyers. Libraries change back and 
forth from one policy to another. Year to year they 
change. You try to find a library that's assembling a 
collection of private printing and then that does pretty 
well for you. So naturally the local libraries, like the 
Clark-- I don't know about Occidental, but the Clark for 
sure collects some things, my things- -my printing. And 
there may be somebody else. Like I say, I can't 
remember. I'm very poor at doing this. An organized 
system of selling I don't have. 

So then there would be some private customers who say, 
you know, "Send me anything you print." A standing 
order. But the trouble with a standing order is I never 
remember. Again, I don't have an organized system for 
standing orders. Then, on the other hand, you send sombody 
something on a standing order and they say, "Gee, why did 
you send me this? I don't want this!" So I just sort of 



197 



forget about standing orders and let the book collector 
work it out for himself. 

Then I think book dealers buy from me. Lorson's 
[Books and Prints]-- There are a few of them around, but it 
would generally be Dawson's and Lorson's. Sometimes up in 
Sacramento Barry Cassidy buys from me. And again, it's a 
matter of getting out there and finding people like Barry 
Cassidy who are interested in them. Then there is the 
Califia Bookstore. She sometimes will sell books of mine, 
but she is interested in more artier books generally than I 
do. 

ZEIGLER: Where's that? 
GERRY: Edwina Leggett in San Francisco. 

I would say infrequently I ' 11 get a call from out of 
nowhere. Somebody called me from New York about the 
[Edward] Ardizzone book. I have no idea how they even 
found out about it. It was a library. No, I think it was 
a book dealer. You wonder, how did they ever hear about 
it? 

ZEIGLER: Well — 

GERRY: Then there are some private collectors. John Class 
collects some of my things. 

ZEIGLER: Very likely one of those private collectors 
showed his collection to another book lover and said, "Hey, 
I like this" and sent an order to you. 



198 



GERRY: Could be. 

ZEIGLER: Do you think that the small fine printers have 
had any influence on the style of the large conunercial 
printing houses? 

GERRY: I think they probably did at one time. I'm not so 
sure now. I think there is a much larger separation 
between a modern and up-to-date technical print job and the 
small fine printer than there was in the past. Mainly 
because, I guess, they are using two different 
technologies. Whereas before, their technologies were the 
same. So people that have become printers now are less 
book oriented than they might have been in the past, or at 
least during the revival period, which was from the time of 
William Morris until now, or a few years ago. Nowadays a 
person tends to want to be a printer to print color 
pictures and be successful like any other business. I 
don't think that's any great revelation; it's probably 
always been that way. But I don't see printers nowadays 
who are anything other than commercial, color printers. At 
least out here. 

ZEIGLER: How do you go about determining what to charge 
for a book? What do you take into consideration? 
GERRY: Ideally, you keep a chart of your costs and your 
labor, and you keep time. Ideally, I'm speaking. You have 
an hourly rate which you charge, and you add up all your 



199 



expenses and you take your hourly rate . And when you ' re 
all done with the book and you say, "This is what it costs 
to make it, " then you double the price and add the markup 
on. That's the way I understand business is supposed to 
work. But when the fine printer who has printed up this 
little book adds up his costs and the book comes out to be 
$95 apiece and it looks like it's worth fifty cents, you 
have got to make some kind of compromise or else be very 
hardheaded about it. And when you double the price, then 
that's almost $200. You add the 40 percent on, and it's 
just unbelievable. I think the small printer makes a 
compromise. 

Largely what I do, many times, is ask Dawson--Glen or 
Muir [Dawson] --or Jim Lorson even, "What do you think we 
could sell this book for?" It isn't a matter of what it 
costs; it's what do you think the market will bear for this 
kind of a book that's this thick and has this many pages. 
And usually they're pretty generous about it, much more so 
than I would be. That would be how I would determine it; 
that's how I personally determine the price. It's not a 
very businesslike way. I do the book the way I want to do 
it. I have a general idea what it cost and get somebody's 
idea of what it will sell for. And I'm not in a rush to 
sell the books, my books. I'm not in a rush to recover my 
costs, and that's to my advantage, because then I can keep 



200 



my book list a fatter list than only just having one book 
on it. I like to be able to put out a catalog now and then 
that has six, seven, ten items in it. So it's far more 
just playing the game of publisher than actually being one. 
ZEIGLER: What future do you think there is for letterpress 
printing with the technology being so different now? Do 
you think there will be people still continuing to do it? 
GERRY: I think it's going to be much more handwork, and 
then the few people who have Linotypes or Monotypes will 
have to give them up because nobody will know how to 
operate them. The next generation will not know how to 
operate them, and the machinery will-- Even though there 
are lots of parts and people with the skills to repair 
these machines around, there won't be for too long. And 
the matrices will wear out. Even though there are large 
stocks of matrices held by major dealers around, when 
nobody wants them anymore, they'll be junked, turned back 
into brass stock. So if it does survive, it will be by 
hand setting, and you still have to have some typefounders 
around. 

Now, there's quite a group of typefounders that has 
developed over that last twenty years. In this country it 
is the American Typefounders Fellowship. A man named 
Richard Hopkins and a man named Paul [H.] Duensing. 
Duensing is probably the foremost amateur typefounder in 



201 



the world. 

ZEIGLER: And he designed several faces, didn't he? 
GERRY: Yes. So I don't know quite how it will work. 
That's the one thing. I think the typesettiiig machines 
will be gone and it will have to be done by hand, which is 
okay. But most of the printers you see in the San 
Francisco area have their type set by a typesetting house, 
Mackensie and Harris. They don't set their type 
themselves. So what are they going to do when Mackensie 
and Harris, now saved at the last minute by Andrew Hoyem 
from bankruptcy--? What's going to happen when they go out 
of business? Well, you can't really set large books by 
hand now, even though I know Andrew Hoyem does some. But 
it's pretty economically crazy. 

My other scenario for what will happen is that peopltt 
will more and more go to offset lithography and do more 
hand lettering, use the phototype more and do more like-- 1 
want to say hand-drawn books--that is what I woviUi Mko to 
see. Or phototypeset books that are decorated by hand. 
Maybe a little more direct lithography, where they draw 
directly on the plates, instead of photo lithography. 

And as far as binding goes, I see it jvist going along 
right like this. They may come up soon with some new and 
less expensive way to bind a book, but I think there will 
still always be people who like to sell and do craftwork 



202 



the world. 

ZEIGLER: And he designed several faces, didn't he? 
GERRY: Yes. So I don't know quite how it will work. 
That's the one thing. I think the typesetting machines 
will be gone and it will have to be done by hand, which is 
okay. But most of the printers you see in the San 
Francisco area have their type set by a typesetting house, 
Mackensie and Harris. They don't set their type 
themselves. So what are they going to do when Mackensie 
and Harris, now saved at the last minute by Andrew Hoyem 
from bankruptcy--? What's going to happen when they go out 
of business? Well, you can't really set large books by 
hand now, even though I know Andrew Hoyem does some. But 
it's pretty economically crazy. 

My other scenario for what will happen is that people 
will more and more go to offset lithography and do more 
hand lettering, use the phototype more and do more like-- I 
want to say hand-drawn books- -that is what I would like to 
see. Or phototypeset books that are decorated by hand. 
Maybe a little more direct lithography, where they draw 
directly on the plates, instead of photo lithography. 

And as far as binding goes, I see it just going along 
right like this. They may come up soon with some new and 
less expensive way to bind a book, but I think there will 
still always be people who like to sell and do craftwork 



202 



with books that will be binding. 

ZEIGLER: Yeah, and it's very satisfying to make it 
yourself that way. 

GERRY: Yeah. And I think printers like to do — some 
printers--their own binding. I know I did. 
ZEIGLER: You mentioned that there would be maybe more 
hand-drawn, hand- lettered, and photo-offset books. Do you 
think there is a revival of interesting calligraphy? 
GERRY: Oh, I think there has been. That would be nice to 
have. Where did I see a very handsomely hand- lettered book 
recently? It might have been done by Warren Chappell, and 
it was beautiful. There is that. There is calligraphy, 
almost like a manuscript, that could be done. I see that 
as a possibility for doing it for lithography. And then 
also, like I said before, I'm waiting for this innovative 
person. This new Bruce Rogers who is going to come along 
and exploit the technology in some way that we haven't 
thought of that will really be an eye-opener, like [William 
A.] Dwiggins and Rogers did in the early part of the 
century. And most trade books are really awful looking 
nowadays. Somebody, somewhere should be coming along to 
make them look good. 

ZEIGLER: Get the idea that they don't have to look awful. 
GERRY: It's the same old argument that has been going on, 
off and on. I think once you get letterpress way under the 



203 



boards and beyond it and the remnants of what's left of 
metal type and the printing machinery has disappeared, 
because nobody will know what it is after a while, then I 
think we will be free to adopt the going technology, 
whatever it may be. There is always some new thing coming 
along. But offset lithography I think is the one. I mean, 
you can buy an offset press as cheap as you can buy a 
letterpress, an old, used letterpress. I'm sure you can 
buy an old, used offset press cheap. I've almost talked 
myself into it. 

ZEIGLER: Hermann Zapf has been working on designing good 
typefaces for computer printouts, hasn't he? So I guess 
that's one direction that you could go. Computer printing 
still looks pretty bad, but it doesn't have to. You can 
have a well-printed-- 

GERRY: Right, it doesn't have to. They have some nice, 
very nice, excellent photo types. 

ZEIGLER: I was sort of interested in this idea of hand- 
drawing and then reproducing it, because I've been writing 
a paper myself on the lettering that Eric Gill did for the 
Cranach Press and Weimar and also for Insel-Verlag in 
Germany. And there, I think, the best technology they 
could do back then was that Eric Gill drew these letters 
and then they cut them into wood, and so they were really 
wood-engraved letters. Anyway, let's see, where do we want 



204 



to go from here? I had a few odds and ends of questions 

that sort of didn't get asked in the appropriate place. 

GERRY: Oh, sure. 

ZEIGLER: Who has worked with you in your printing 

activities? Have you had some other person or persons 

helping you? 

GERRY: My wife [Mary Palmer Gerry] used to sew sometimes, 

sew booklets, but she is not really very interested in 

it. Other than that I haven't really had anybody. 



205 



TAPE NUMBER: VI, SIDE ONE 
MAY 18, 1989 

ZIEGLER: I saw in some of your job sheets that it said 
"Mary's binding time." Is that your wife [Mary Palmer 
Gerry]? 

GERRY: Oh, yeah, right. I guess that was an attempt at 
watching my expenses, to keep a cost accounting. I think I 
later on gave that up. 

ZIEGLER: Also, I wanted to ask you where you learned to do 
binding. 

GERRY: I think I learned a lot from Pall [W.] Bohne. And, 
like I say, the original man at the [Walt] Disney Studio, 
named Lou Appet, who later became the business agent for 
Local 839, taught me. Also, Nevins had an amateur 
bookbinders shop on Seventh Street until sometime in the 
seventies. He was very helpful to us all. I had printed a 
little book, and Appet showed me how to sew it and how to 
make the covers and how to glue it together. From then on 
I just kept trying to do it-- I would sometimes do ten 
copies on the dining room table. Then I think I met Pall, 
and Pall showed me some things I was doing wrong--or maybe 
I read some books--and I got some ideas from Pall, who was 
a very excellent craftsman. Then I got a sewing machine 
and a standing press and I was able to bind editions of a 
hundred or so without going crazy. I mean, it was boring 

206 



TAPE NUMBER: VI, SIDE ONE 
MAY 18, 1989 

ZIEGLER: I saw in some of your job sheets that it said 
"Mary's binding time." Is that your wife [Mary Palmer 
Gerry] ? 

GERRY: Oh, yeah, right. I guess that was an attempt at 
watching my expenses, to keep a cost accounting. I think I 
later on gave that up. 

ZIEGLER: Also, I wanted to ask you where you learned to do 
binding. 

GERRY: I think I learned a lot from Pall [W.] Bohne. And, 
like I say, the original man at the [Walt] Disney Studio, 
named Lou Appet, who later became the business agent for 
Local 839, taught me. Also, Nevins had an amateur 
bookbinders shop on Seventh Street until sometime in the 
seventies. He was very helpful to us all. I had printed a 
little book, and Appet showed me how to sew it and how to 
make the covers and how to glue it together. From then on 
I just kept trying to do it-- I would sometimes do ten 
copies on the dining room table. Then I think I met Pall, 
and Pall showed me some things I was doing wrong--or maybe 
I read some books--and I got some ideas from Pall, who was 
a very excellent craftsman. Then I got a sewing machine 
and a standing press and I was able to bind editions of a 
hundred or so without going crazy. I mean, it was boring 

206 



enough, but the sewing machine made a really big 
difference, because you could sew through the spine of the 
signatures with this machine. I don't want to say quite 
rapidly, but certainly faster than you could do it by hand. 
ZIEGLER: Excuse my ignorance. This is a special sewing 
machine for bookbinding? 

GERRY: Yes, it's called a Smythe sewing machine. 
ZIEGLER: You can't do it on a regular sewing machine? 
GERRY: No, it has a whole row of needles and loopers in it 
that push the needle through the spine of the signature and 
the loopers pick it up and the hook needles pull it through 
back out and it keeps going. You just sew all the books 
together in one long row and then later on cut them apart 
into individual books. Then a standing press had all the 
boards with ridges on it that you put in the grooves of the 
spine. You know what I mean? The long way, where the 
spine separates from the cover boards. These edged 
boards. You lay the books- -like, say, four books- -with 
their spines on these brass edges that are raised like a 
sixteenth of an inch. Then on top of that you put another 
edged board, and then you lay four books on top of that. 
You put another edged board on top of that. You are doing 
this one at a time, though. I mean, you can only glue one 
book at a time. You can't glue four. You put the books 
together one at a time. 



207 



ZIEGLER: So the other four books are just for weight to 
hold it down? 

GERRY: No, you put them down after you have four boards 
laid out — four books laid out on these edged boards. Then 
you put another edged board on top of that. Now, the 
grooves and the spine are being taken care of by the top 
board and the bottom board, and you keep stacking these up 
on the standing press. In a commercial shop, where you've 
got two or three people working on a binding- -gluing and 
casing in, you know--they can fill one of these presses in 
half a day. Well, I had my press cut down because it was 
too tall. I couldn't fill it! [laughter] In a day's work 
I could do fifty, twenty- five books. Now, you put the 
squeeze to these books that are in between the boards. 
They're in the standing press, and you squeeze the boards 
down as hard as you can. And then you have this lever that 
you stick into the screw of the press. It gives you so 
much leverage that with hardly any effort at all, you can 
squeeze the glue right through the paper. So you have to 
be a little careful there, because I've done that before. 
You leave the books in this press--that ' s why it's called a 
standing press. The books stand there for twenty-four 
hours or however long you want them to. They dry in 
there . And when you take them out , they ' re squeezed so 
nice and tightly together that they don't warp like they 



208 



would if you just tossed them on a table. Anyway, it's a 
finished book that comes out of there. So that's when I 
was doing-- I got to that point where I was doing generally 
pretty much edition binding. Whenever I could afford it, I 
would usually have somebody else do it. I would have 
another binder do it, a commercial binder. 
ZIEGLER: Where do you buy this binding equipment? 
GERRY: This equipment? I got the sewing machine and the 
standing press from the Self -Realization Fellowship. They 
had expanded their press that was on Mount Washington--then 
in Highland Park- -so much that they were doing so many 
volumes that they could no longer-- They were producing so 
much work that they could no longer do it themselves . They 
had to send the binding out. The equipment I bought from 
them was not enough for them, but it was enough for me. 
That's how I bought that. There's a company called Gayne 
Brothers and Lane who specialize in selling binding 
machinery and binding supplies here in Los Angeles. 
ZIEGLER: Well, could we move on now and talk about some of 
your activities as an artist? Do you remember being 
interested in art as a child and how you first started 
thinking you wanted to be an artist? 

GERRY: I think it was probably the only thing I ever did 
in class that the teacher liked. I was sort of a poor 
student. My grandmother [Lula Baxter White] had done a 



209 



would if you just tossed them on a table. Anyway, it's a 
finished book that comes out of there. So that's when I 
was doing — I got to that point where I was doing generally 
pretty much edition binding. Whenever I could afford it, I 
would usually have somebody else do it. I would have 
another binder do it, a commercial binder. 
ZIEGLER: Where do you buy this binding equipment? 
GERRY: This equipment? I got the sewing machine and the 
standing press from the Self -Realization Fellowship. They 
had expanded their press that was on Mount Washington--then 
in Highland Park--so much that they were doing so many 
volumes that they could no longer-- They were producing so 
much work that they could no longer do it themselves. They 
had to send the binding out. The equipment I bought from 
them was not enough for them, but it was enough for me. 
That's how I bought that. There's a company called Gayne 
Brothers and Lane who specialize in selling binding 
machinery and binding supplies here in Los Angeles. 
ZIEGLER: Well, could we move on now and talk about some of 
your activities as an artist? Do you remember being 
interested in art as a child and how you first started 
thinking you wanted to be an artist? 

GERRY: I think it was probably the only thing I ever did 
in class that the teacher liked. I was sort of a poor 
student. My grandmother [Lula Baxter White] had done a 



209 



little oil painting and she encouraged me, although she 
said, "You should never be an artist because artists are 
always poor." She wanted me to be successful. Yes, I 
think so. I think when I got out of high school I was 
unqualified for any college. So the registrar said, "What 
are you going to do?" I said, "I don't know." I guess I 
was about eighteen. She said, "What are you interested 
in?" I said, "Art." She said, "Here's this school over 
here in L.A. You can go to them and you could study art 
there if you want to be a commercial artist." So I went to 
Woodbury [College]. I think we've gone through this 
before. Then after Woodbury I went to Art Center 
[School] . And then after I was in the army I went to 
Chouinard [Art Institute] and ended up at Disney. Been 
there ever since, off and on, for more than thirty years. 
ZEIGLER: I wonder if you could comment on the different 
art media that you work in. I've seen samples of your pen 
and ink and your watercolors and pochoir and linoleum cuts 
and woodcuts--are there any that I've left out? 
GERRY: No, I think that's them. I think I feel more 
comfortable with a linoleum cut than a wood engraving. 
This book that I am going to do. Seashore Plants of 
Southern California --tentative title--I'm going to do in 
linoleum cuts. Pen and ink drawing, I guess it would be 
sort of in the style of [Edward] Ardizzone. I've probably 



210 



been influenced by him, cross-hatching and so on. The 
pochoir just kind of grew. I think after I had seen the 
book Elsie and the Child that was published by Cassell and 
Company [Ltd.] in England and was stenciled and finally 
printed by the Curwen Press, I think that's when I thought 
I should try that on one of my books. 

ZIEGLER: And you've gotten some great results with it in 
the M. F. K. Fisher, The Standing and the Waiting , for 
instance. 

GERRY: Yeah, that was the one I ultimately did. It didn't 
turn out like I wanted it to, but it didn't turn out too 
bad. I mean, it's acceptable. I guess what I dreamed in 
my mind was something quite a bit different than what I 
turned out. Let's see, and I do watercolors. I try to do 
watercolors. Oil painting I don't do. Sometimes I use 
pastels in studio work, but most often in my studio work I 
use a china marker and watercolors. That's very quick. 
ZIEGLER: What's a china marker? 

GERRY: It's so you can mark the price on a piece of 
china. It's a grease pencil, very greasy. But it's very 
clean. It's much cleaner than a charcoal pencil. And when 
you paint watercolor over it, it resists the watercolor, 
and it won't run or smudge like charcoal. 

ZIEGLER: I wanted to ask you, pochoir is very painstaking 
in the sense that you have to do each one individually. 



211 



isn't it? And for illustrating a book it's the same thing 
as etching: each copy has to be done separately. 
GERRY: It's like binding; it's very monotonous. 
ZIEGLER: Also, probably no two copies are exactly 
identical because you ' re not going to be brushing exactly 
the same amount of paint on the stencil in each one. 
GERRY: Right, and as you go, the more bored you get, the 
more innovative you get on how you can treat this simple 
stencil. You know, you might want to soften one edge or 
stipple it with a brush or paint it a different direction 
or put a texture into it. These things come to you as 
you're doing it. 

ZIEGLER: Could you describe the process for the tape? 
GERRY: I'll describe the way I do it. You work out of 
your drawing with the idea that it's going to be in how 
many colors. The more colors, the more work for you; the 
more colors, the more your reader is going to like it. And 
you can trick things by transparencies. You can set three 
colors out of two. So you can let that play in your mind. 
ZIEGLER: By transparencies, in this case, you mean 
brushing a wash of one color across what you've already put 
down. 

GERRY: Right. This is going to be a transparent 
watercolor, or a semi-transparent anyway. Enough so you 
can't do it with opaque watercolors. But watercolor seems 



212 



to be the best thing. Then over this drawing that you 
figure out in your mind, or you might have outlined it on 
the drawing in different color pencils, you take a piece of 
celluloid-- No, not celluloid. Mylar. Celluloid probably 
doesn't exist anymore. It's about three thousandths to 
five thousandths of an inch thick. You can cut it with a 
knife, but it's very hard with an X-acto or a frisket knife 
or something like that. I use what they call a stencil 
burner. It's like the little woodburning set you had when 
you were a kid, and it burns right through the plastic. As 
in needlepoint, you can just follow your drawing, which is 
under the plastic, and cut the outline. And because it's a 
stencil there are all sorts of qualifications, as you can 
imagine, that come with a stencil. You can't have things 
existing in midair. It's got to be tied to something to 
keep the stencil. The more complicated the stencil, the 
harder it is to brush. All right, so you've cut your 
color. And now you make some sort of a guide so that the 
stencil will always be in the same place every time on 
every sheet of paper, and that's easier than it sounds. 
The most difficult thing is to get the right consistency of 
color. If it's too wet, it's going to run underneath the 
stencil, and if it's too dry it takes forever to brush it 
on. But I would much prefer it to be on the drier side. 
ZIEGLER: Which gives it sort of a powdery, grainy look. 



213 



to be the best thing. Then over this drawing that you 
figure out in your mind, or you might have outlined it on 
the drawing in different color pencils, you take a piece of 
celluloid-- No, not celluloid. Mylar. Celluloid probably 
doesn't exist anymore. It's about three thousandths to 
five thousandths of an inch thick. You can cut it with a 
knife, but it's very hard with an X-acto or a frisket knife 
or something like that. I use what they call a stencil 
burner. It's like the little woodburning set you had when 
you were a kid, and it burns right through the plastic. As 
in needlepoint, you can just follow your drawing, which is 
under the plastic, and cut the outline. And because it's a 
stencil there are all sorts of qualifications, as you can 
imagine, that come with a stencil. You can't have things 
existing in midair. It's got to be tied to something to 
keep the stencil. The more complicated the stencil, the 
harder it is to brush. All right, so you've cut your 
color. And now you make some sort of a guide so that the 
stencil will always be in the same place every time on 
every sheet of paper, and that's easier than it sounds. 
The most difficult thing is to get the right consistency of 
color. If it's too wet, it's going to run underneath the 
stencil, and if it's too dry it takes forever to brush it 
on. But I would much prefer it to be on the drier side. 
ZIEGLER: Which gives it sort of a powdery, grainy look. 



213 



which is often very nice for the effect you want in the 
picture. 

GERRY: Yeah. So then you start doing your addition. You 
just do it sheet by sheet. A lot of times things will 
occur to you that didn't occur to you until you actually 
start stenciling it. Then [when] the sheets dry, you cut 
the second color and you repeat the process with a stencil 
brush on a plate. You work the paint out and keep the 
brush dry. You might keep two brushes so if one is too 
wet, you can rub the brushes together. That's what I do. 
Then you use the drier of the two. And you run through 
your addition that way. Now, this can be done over an 
existing printed drawing or like in the case of the M. F. 
K. Fisher book I did, there was no printed key drawing. I 
just did it all with stencils, which is fine. 
ZIEGLER: : How did you first discover pochoir? 
GERRY: Oh, probably in some example books where Curwen 
Press examples were shown. And, like I say, I got this 
copy of Elsie and the Child by Arnold Bennett and I could 
see-- I mean, I could see that it was a beautiful thing, 
but I also could see that it was a thing you could do 
yourself. I mean, after all, I had some kind of artistic 
ability and I had been trained as a kind of an artist, so 
it was a possibility. And here it was combined with 
print. So naturally it would appeal to me. Then I think I 



214 



saw some French examples. Then there were a couple of 
shows out here, which I didn't get to, but I got their 
catalogs and it talked about pochoir. And then I looked up 
some things Curwen had written about stenciling at the 
Curwen. He wrote an article somewhere called "Stenciling 
at the Curwen Press." Then I tried to do it, and 
unsuccessfully quite a bit of the time. Usually the brush 
was too wet or the design wasn't worked out very well. By 
the time I got to Mrs. Fisher's book, I had done a couple 
of things not too well. But I started out on her book and 
just kept going. I really learned most of everything I 
know about it from her book. If I do one for a Lawrence 
Clark Powell, for his The Blue Train , he wants me to do 
stencil illustrations, so I would do that again, probably 
simpler with the printed key. Not that a printed key is at 
all necessary. I did some stenciling designs and cut the 
stencils for John Handle's Matrix magazine. 
ZIEGLER: Oh, yeah. I saw an article on that. 
GERRY: He wanted to do this and have a little article on 
stenciling and also some examples. I said he was crazy, 
because he wanted to do nine hundred copies . Probably a 
thousand. 

ZIEGLER: I think he talks in there about what a time- 
consuming process it was to stencil each copy. 
GERRY: Oh, right. I said, "I'm not sure you really want 



215 



to do this." Well, he wrote back from England that he had 
assembled this group of people that were all ready to go in 
this. I said, "Well, okay." So I wrote a little article 
and I illustrated it with the stencils. These all had 
key-- There were keys that would be printed, that he would 
print. And then his slaves, as he called them, would 
stencil over these. I tried to work them out in two 
colors, and one was three colors. He called me one time 
from England and he said, "The stencils keep breaking, they 
keep breaking." I said, "Well, you have to stick them back 
together with Scotch tape. They are stenciling too hard or 
rubbing too hard." So I cut him some more stencils on a 
thicker Mylar. I didn't have to do it, but I could tell 
that they were killing themselves. [laughter] So I think 
that will be one of the most prized of all the matrix 
magazines for the sheer labor that went into the 
stenciling. It's a very nice medium. 
ZIEGLER: Yeah, it does achieve beautiful results. 
GERRY: And it gets much cleaner and nicer colors than if 
they're printed. The thing is to do, say, twenty- five 
copies or something. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, a real limited edition. Do linoleum cuts 
and woodcuts, then, just go right into the press along with 
the type? Or do they have to be printed separately? 
GERRY: Yes, that's the great advantage. However, in most 



216 



cases--even if you're printing in black--unless it's a very 
light-complexioned cut, you're going to have to print it 
separately, because the type is going to take less ink than 
the cut. Now, if you're doing a handpress, you can kind of 
get around this by having two different rollers, one with 
more ink for the cut--if you can get it in there without 
hitting the type--and one with a little less ink for the 
type. But if you ink the cut so it will print the type, 
you will have too much ink on it. 

ZIEGLER: It will be clogged in there. Yeah, I've once or 
twice tried doing linoleum cuts, and I had a problem 
getting a solid block of black on the black spaces, because 
I wasn't inking enough. I can see it would take a lot of 
ink. 

GERRY: So generally you have to do it separately. The 
illustrations are printed separately. This is really a 
different medium. I mean, in commercial printing in the 
past they were done at the same time. 

ZIEGLER: I understood that what was partly responsible for 
the wonderful efflorescence of woodcuts in Renaissance 
Germany was that they could go together into the press with 
newly discovered type printing and print at the same time. 
GERRY: Well, even in [Thomas] Bewick's time they printed 
the things together. I think that's one reason why Bewick 
complained that they lost so much, because they were kind 



217 



of sloppy printers. But those German woodcuts, the ones I 

think you're talking about, were fairly light. They were 

not a lot of solids. They were mostly a lot of line 

work. Yeah, line work instead and lots of open spaces 

rather than solid black. 

ZIEGLER: Have you done art in other contexts besides your 

books that you've printed and your work at Disney? Have 

you displayed as an artist at galleries? 

GERRY: No, not really. I'm still working up a painting 

that I can take to a gallery. I had shows done with some 

of the other fellows at the studio. You would have a 

little watercolor show in the library or something, but 

never professionally. 

ZIEGLER: Where have some of those shows been? 

GERRY: At the Disney Studio in one of the large rooms like 

this room, a meeting room. We might have put some up in 

there, just unofficial stuff. I did have some for sale at 

Jim [James E.] Lorson's for a while, but I only sold one. 

I took the others back, and Jim has not been pounding on my 

door to get me to send more. 

ZIEGLER: So your favorite art medium is watercolor when 

you're not doing something to include in a book, when it's 

just a single copy. 

GERRY: I was very much influenced as a young guy-- And 

then later on when I went to the studio, I worked with 



218 



these California watercolorists. Most of the background 
painters who worked in the studios in those days were the 
California watercolorists. 
ZIEGLER: Who were some of them? 

GERRY: Well, there was Art Riley, there was Ralph Hulett, 
Claude Coats, Preston Blair, Herb Ryman, Ken Anderson. So 
not only had I seen these when I was a kid, the great 
California watercolor style, but — Emil Kosa and Rex 
Brandt-- Oh, another one at Disney, although I didn't know 
him, was-- Darn it! I can't remember these people's 
names. Phil Dike. A great California watercolorist. So I 
think that not only did I love them before, but when I got 
to know some of the guys I loved them even more. Although, 
at the time I knew them, I wasn't doing any watercolor. 
It's only like in the last ten or fifteen years I have 
thought about seriously trying to do something. 
ZIEGLER: Could you tell me a little bit more about the 
school of California watercolorists? I don't know much 
about them. 

GERRY: Well, it ' s a style of painting that sort of 
developed around Los Angeles, where things were very 
direct. You might even say tricky. The techniques were 
very sophisticated in that they were very direct, in that 
nobody niggled around with little brushstrokes. They were 
all big brushstrokes, and they were all done with one or 



219 



two washes--very seldom three--and the colors were 
bright. The subject matter was local. Millard Sheets, 
there's the one that was the kingpin of the California 
style. He started it really. I don't want to say he 
started it, but he was very influential in its beginnings 
in the twenties and all the way up until-- Well, he's still 
alive. He's still influential. He's still doing 
watercolors. And then there were a number of people in the 
San Francisco area. So that's what I call the California 
style. Milford Zornes we saw. Milford Zornes ' s paintings 
we saw down in the library science room [at UCLA] . Is that 
where we were? 
ZIEGLER: Yeah. 

GERRY: I would love to have one of those. That's the 
California style. 

ZIEGLER: Could you say some about learning to do 
watercolor? I think I mentioned to you that it struck me 
as a very hard medium to control when I tried it back in 
high school art class, and I imagine it's really a tough 
skill to learn. 

GERRY: I think to do it, you get some big full sheets and 
you cut them up into quarters, you might even cut them into 
eighths. You do a hundred of them, a hundred watercolors, 
and then you'll begin to catch on. 
ZIEGLER: Yeah, just see what works through trial and 



220 



error. 

GERRY: Yes. And also if you can go to a class where a 

watercolor painter is going to do a demonstration, you'll 

learn a lot of how to do it. It's really a matter of just-- 

I mean, I think if you do an oil painting, you can fool 

around on one oil painting for ever and ever, but a 

watercolor you've got to do fairly fast. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, and if it's not right the first time, 

there's not a whole lot you can do to correct it, whereas 

with an oil painting you can change it. 

GERRY: So I think you want to do, say, a hundred quarter 

sheets. I mean eighth sheets, and then maybe a hundred 

quarter sheets. And then if you're really ambitious you 

can try a half. But a full sheet is a monster painting. 

It's a tour de force. Although, most of the well-known 

watercolor painters usually do full sheets. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, and not only is it expensive paper if 

you're just learning, but even just controlling these runny 

colors over that large a surface. 

GERRY: The paints are expensive and the brushes are 

expensive; it's a very expensive medium. But you can use 

student brushes and student watercolors to get started, and 

then when you're really good you can buy. That was my 

theory. I think the important thing is to spend the money 

on the paper. You can get it on sale somewhere. After 



221 



all, if it costs you $1.50 a sheet for Arches watercolor 

paper and you cut it four ways, that's not much per sheet, 

is it? You cut it eight ways, it's really cheap. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah. 

GERRY: And you can use student colors and student brushes, 

and then when you feel like you're really good, you can buy 

a Windsor Newton for $300, a Windsor Newton brush. Or $200 

or $100, depending on what size. And Windsor Newton 

colors. 

ZIEGLER: They're the best. 

GERRY: That's what they say. [laughter] I learned 

watercolor ing mostly by myself, or looking at other 

watercolors. I took it at school, but I don't think I ever 

even showed the teacher. Rex Brandt, one of my paintings. 

They were so bad. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah. Well, it probably is something that you 

learn just by trying over and over again. Could you talk 

some about artists you admire? Artists or styles or 

periods that you admire. 

GERRY: Well, I guess in general -- 

ZIEGLER: I certainly know that in your incarnation as 

Bunston Quayles you are familiar with art history. 

GERRY: Yeah, well, I do like-- I guess I like the modern 

art period. I mean, those are the ones I like. The 

cubists and everybody that was influenced by cubism. So 



222 



that is sort of the period that I always fall back on as 
far as my interests go. I don't go — I certainly admire 
paintings before the twentieth century, but I don't get all 
excited about them. I'm mostly a twentieth-century 
painter. Or the ones that influenced me. So who is 
that? Picasso, Matisse. And then I like the surrealist 
[Giorgio de] Chirico. And the Belgian [Rene] Magritte 
and-- Oh, [Balthasar] Balthus is another one I like a 
lot. Now, as far as the more commercial artists that I 
admire-- Edward Bawden of England. I mean, a great 
watercolorist, but he also did a lot of work for the Curwen 
Press and a lot of more commercial drawings for commercial 
advertising that I think were really knockouts. Oh, he did 
a lot of drawings for illustration also. And also Eric 
Ravilious was my favorite wood engraver, followed by his 
student, John O'Connor. 
ZIEGLER: Who was his student? 

GERRY: John O'Connor. In his early days he was my 
favorite wood engraver. David Jones is another one who I 
can't help but be impressed by as an illustrator and as a 
wood engraver. And then Gus [Gustave] Bofa, a French 
artist. Charles Laborde, another French illustrator I'm 
much impressed with. And Ardizzone, Edward Ardizzone, the 
English illustrator. And McKnight Kauffer, who did Elsie 
and the Child, made the drawings from which they made the 



223 



stencils. And then the American illustrators would be 
Gilbert Bundy and Carl Erickson. In the kids' book 
illustrations, [Feodor] Rojankovsky. And Gus [Gustaf] 
Tenggren, who did work at the Disney Studios before my 
time. And maybe Floyd Davis, too, I think, as a magazine 
illustrator. 

And in the fifties, of course, I was terribly 
impressed by all the glamorous magazine illustrators. But 
I have since lost interest. 
ZIEGLER: Who were some of those? 

GERRY: Oh, no, I want to mention one other artist who 
worked in printing and the book world, Barnett Freedman. 
He was another one, a contemporary of Bawden and Ravilious, 
who did some really swell drawings for printing. He didn't 
do engravings; he always did lithographs. Now, some of the 
fifties illustrators that I used to think were the cat's 
pajamas, or whatever you want to say, were Joe De Mers and 
Coby Whitmore. And to some extent-- I can't remember his 
name. He taught at Chouinard; I took a class with him. 
He'd been a great illustrator. He was older than most of 
them at that time, yet he had changed his style and had not 
become passe. That was Pruett Carter. Those were the 
glamorous ones. Jon Whitcomb was another glamorous 
illustrator that we tried to emulate. And then when 
television came along, they all went out of style. 



224 



Magazines were no longer illustrated. People didn't read 
stories, I guess. They didn't need them. They went more 
into photography. And I think most of those illustrators 
that were still alive went into western painting to stay 
alive. [laughter] I think that's about all the artists. 
People who probably influenced me the most directly 
would be Don [Donald W. ] Graham--the teacher at Chouinard — 
and William Moore, a Chouinard teacher. And the Chouinard 
school itself. I think when I got to Disney, the Disney 
artists that influenced me and I felt strongly about were 
Bill Peet and Joe Rinaldi. And a man named J. P. [John 
Parr] Miller, who I never met, but his drawings were 
tremendous. A lot of the Disney artists there. In terms of 
entertainment and the making of the pictures, I think Frank 
Thomas and certainly "Woolie" [Wolfgang] Reitherman, who I 
worked with for many years. He was the director. And Ken 
Anderson, who was like an art director, he had tremendous 
influence on the things that — To try to teach me, without 
telling me exactly, the important things about the 
entertainment business and what made things entertaining. 
How to get those things on the screen or how to draw them. 
ZIEGLER: Could you maybe give some examples of what you 
learned from him? 

GERRY: Well, Ken-- Frank didn't draw much. He was an 
animator, but he often came to work on the story in the 



225 



early part of a picture. He had a real canny eye for 
trying to get something that's entertaining, something the 
audience likes. And he, unlike most of the fellows, could 
articulate it. He could tell you what he was thinking 
about it. In that way he was very helpful, and I was very 
lucky to get to work with him as often as I did. But his 
drawing was animation drawing, which was not the kind of 
drawing that you said, "Oh, gosh, wasn't that beautiful!" 
Animation drawing is sort of something else. The drawings 
don't exist by themselves; they only exist when you see 
them on the screen. By themselves they don't stand up 
particularly well. And Woolie would-- Woolie Reitherman 
was the director, and he'd been an animator. He was 
constantly after me to make things understandable, to make 
things so the audience gets it. Not just you, but that the 
audience sees what you're trying to tell them. We spent 
more time trying to communicate to the audience than we 
spent on anything else. 

ZIEGLER: And how would you go about doing that? Can you 
think of an example? 

GERRY: Well, it's like trying to be very obvious. Much 
more obvious than you wanted to be, especially if you were 
a young man with lots of obscure likes and art films in 
your head. You didn't want to be obvious. But eventually 
I learned that you've got to be or you lose the audience 



226 



and they'll never come back. 
ZIEGLER: Yeah. 

GERRY: So it was more in the staging of ideas, that you 
communicated it in an obvious way so the audience did not 
miss at all what you were trying to tell them. And Ken 
Anderson was a fantastic artist who had the ability in one 
drawing to suggest a whole sequence for a picture, by not 
only making it a drawing that was appealing, tremendously 
appealing, but it would have an idea in it or a piece of 
humor in it that would make you want to expand the story. 
And that's what he did so well for us, getting the story 
started by kind of leading the way with these sort of 
"setups," they were called, or "atmosphere drawings" or any 
number of words that they call them. 

ZIEGLER: Could you give an example, maybe think of an 
example from some specific film that people might have 
seen? 

GERRY: I can't really. I know he did-- Usually on every 
picture, he would start out by making these setups of the 
characters and then their situations, situations that were 
suggested either by an outline or by the book we were 
taking it from or by something in Ken ' s head . There might 
be fifteen or twenty of them, and then we'd get together 
and talk about the story and what was going to happen and 
these things that he would suggest ideas for that we could 



227 



evolve into something. 

I will tell you — Ken didn't do this, but another 
artist named Mel Shaw — We were working on a picture called 
Basil of Baker Street , which later was titled The Great 
Mouse Detective . Mel had drawn this picture of Big Ben in 
England and it was like a down shot--you were way up in the 
sky and looking down on it. But you were close enough to 
see that the two mice, Basil and his archenemy, Rattigan, 
were having a fight to the end. Much like Sherlock Holmes 
had a fight with Moriarty at the falls. Here were these 
two mice at the very tip end of one of the hands of Big 
Ben. Now, that picture was so powerful and suggested such 
an image that you couldn't do anything but keep that in the 
movie. It was such a powerful image. And it stayed in the 
movie. That was done very early. That is when he was just 
exploring possibilities for what could happen. I don't 
think it was in the book, it was just something that 
occurred to him. This took place in England. The mouse 
was like Sherlock Holmes, only he was called Basil, and 
wore a little hat like Sherlock Holmes. In fact, he lived 
in Sherlock Holmes's flat. In the wall. And that's one 
example I can remember of where one drawing suggested a 
whole sequence. 

ZIEGLER: I was looking at a book about Disney [ Disney 
Animation: The Illusion of Life, Frank Thomas and 01 lie 



228 



Johnston] , and it had a sequence of drawings that you did 
for The Rescuers , which unfortunately I've never seen. But 
it was pointing out how in those drawings, you were trying 
to convey the loneliness of the little orphan girl by 
showing her with her back to the audience and her shoulders 
slumped. And the focus of interest was the cat that was 
brushing against her back. Could you maybe use that as an 
example and talk about how you would make the drawing so 
that it communicates clearly and unambiguously to the 
audience? 

GERRY: Well, I think in that case, the director wanted to 
make sure that everybody would feel sorry for this little 
girl. Our heroine. I guess she wasn't a heroine, but she 
was the subject of the picture. So we fabricated this 
orphanage, what an orphanage looked like, because the 
librarian at the studio had found out that there were no 
more orphanages, orphanages no longer existed. There were 
only foster homes. Well, but the director said, "Phoo, 
phoo. I don't care. I want an orphanage." So we did the 
orphanage. 

So then we thought, well, maybe there would be this 
long row of beds. And I drew the long row of beds. And 
way down at the end-- All the other kids had gone, and 
there was little Penny sitting way down at the end, kind of 
silhouetted in the window on her little bed. And I drew 



229 



army beds that I remembered so well. Plain pipe beds. It 
was a pretty bare place. And then I think the animator- - 
They were talking about what would the girl do. And I 
think we had some dialogue written in. It was a problem of 
what was the animator going to do with this girl to not 
only put over the dialogue but to make the audience feel 
really sorry for her and want her to be adopted and not 
want her to be kidnapped by the cruel lady and all that. 
So that's when I started drawing all-- "Well, what can the 
cat do? What does the girl do?" And you just keep asking 
these questions. 



230 



TAPE NUMBER: VI, SIDE TWO 
MAY 18, 1989 

ZIEGLER: Sorry I had to interrupt you. You were 
describing what you could have the girl do and what you 
could have the cat do to show the pathos of the situation. 
GERRY: So I, as a story artist, was looking for material 
to give the animator some suggestions as to what he would 
do with the little girl. So we'd have meetings and talk 
about it, and I began to make these drawings of-- What 
would I do with the cat? What would the cat do? How would 
the girl treat the cat? Would the cat go behind her? 
Would he sneak up on her? Would he jump into her lap? 
Would he sit on the chair? We just tried everything that 
would come to mind. And then I had a drawing that I 
thought was terribly amusing about when she decided she was 
going to go have lunch, she took the cat with her. But she 
carried it like a little kid. Sort of with it hanging 
down, dragging on the floor. So I think maybe-- Ollie 
Johnston, one of the authors of that book, was the 
animator. And so I think that when they wrote the book, he 
remembered that. Also, he remembered it because it wasn't 
so long ago. It would only have been a couple of years 
when he wrote the book. So that is probably one of the 
reasons he-- Also, maybe he felt that there was really 
something there that helped him in his animation. And 

231 



maybe the sketches were available — they hadn't been lost or 
thrown away or burled in the archives or something. 
ZIEGLER: I gathered from that book that they usually do 
that at Disney, that they have the story sketched out and 
then discuss these sketches and get ideas for how you can 
animate them, what sort of action, from looking at the 
series of sketches. 

GERRY: A lot of exploration. Lots and lots of 
exploration. "What are the possibilities of the 
situation?" You try to explore them visually. That is the 
story of the animation-story game. The exploration of the 
possibilities . 
ZIEGLER: Yeah. 

GERRY: And that's one advantage that the Disney Studio is 
able to do, to take advantage of doing that. Many more 
studios cannot afford to do that. I mean, they just have 
to make it right the first time. Bang, that's it. You 
never look back, you just keep going. And even the 
animators never look at their work. Or care about it. Oh, 
I won't say they don't care about it — they never look back 
and say, "Was this a good scene, or was that a bad 
scene?" They just keep going straight ahead. So we can 
have the luxury, if you want to call it, of the agony of 
exploration . 
ZIEGLER: Is that just because Disney can better afford the 



232 



time to be spent than the other studios? 

GERRY: Yeah, and that was the tradition. I mean, that was 

what Walt Disney always did himself--or got people to do-- 

"Find out what we can do with this." 

ZIEGLER: What have you mainly done at Disney? Have you 

been an animator mostly? Have you been a story man doing 

stories? 

GERRY: I started out, as everybody did in those days, as 

an apprentice in-betweener . That was the job. I mean, the 

lowest job in animation. You put the drawings in between 

other drawings. 

ZIEGLER: So you'll have one person do an action at one 

point and then an action at another point several seconds 

later. And then someone has to draw all the intermediate 

stages? 

GERRY: It would be more like a fraction of a second later. 

ZIEGLER: Ah. 

GERRY: The animator and his assistant generally get the 

thing all animated, and then they decide where they want to 

put the in-betweens which will smooth out the action. And 

an in-between requires no effort or talent. I mean, of 

course, it requires a great deal of effort. It's one of 

the very difficult things to have to do. But it doesn't 

require much creativity. You've just got to get that 

drawing right in the middle so the animator likes it and 



233 



says, "Yes, that's in the middle." It's a good way to 
begin to learn all about animation, because you're working 
with an animator, you're working with exposure sheets, 
you're working with the drawings, and you are a part of 
this team. I mean, you're working with the animator and 
his assistant, and there might even be a fourth person 
involved. 

ZIEGLER: How do you go about learning what the action in 
the middle would be? Like, say, just me as a lay person, 
if I move my hand, I am not really aware of where it is 
between the time it ' s here and the time I finish my 
movement . 

GERRY: You've got a light board. So the light's coming 
up, and you have the two drawings, one on top of the 
other. You can see both drawings. And on top of that you 
have a drawing paper. They are all on pegs so they won't 
move. They're keyed to each other. Then you begin to 
draw--over the two drawings — the one that's in between. 
Now, you don't just draw it, you kind of flip these 
papers. These three drawings, you flip them--it is called 
"flipping." You flip the papers in such a way that you can 
actually see it move. And that is the real test. I mean, 
you can say, "Well, I drew it in the middle." But if it 
doesn't flip, in other words if it doesn't move smoothly — 
ZIEGLER: If it does a funny jump in the middle? 



234 



says, "Yes, that's in the middle." It's a good way to 
begin to learn all about animation, because you're working 
with an animator, you're working with exposure sheets, 
you're working with the drawings, and you are a part of 
this team. I mean, you're working with the animator and 
his assistant, and there might even be a fourth person 
involved. 

ZIEGLER: How do you go about learning what the action in 
the middle would be? Like, say, just me as a lay person, 
if I move my hand, I am not really aware of where it is 
between the time it ' s here and the time I finish my 
movement . 

GERRY: You've got a light board. So the light's coming 
up, and you have the two drawings, one on top of the 
other. You can see both drawings. And on top of that you 
have a drawing paper. They are all on pegs so they won't 
move. They're keyed to each other. Then you begin to 
draw--over the two drawings--the one that's in between. 
Now, you don't just draw it, you kind of flip these 
papers. These three drawings, you flip them- -it is called 
"flipping." You flip the papers in such a way that you can 
actually see it move. And that is the real test. I mean, 
you can say, "Well, I drew it in the middle." But if it 
doesn't flip, in other words if it doesn't move smoothly — 
ZIEGLER: If it does a funny jump in the middle? 



234 



GERRY: Exactly. If it does a funny jump, you're doing it 
wrong. So that's how. I did that for a while. But soon, 
like I say, because there was a demand for people because 
of the new television-- Because Walt had gone into 
television. So I was taken out and put into a layout 
department where you plan the scenes, you plan the 
backgrounds, and you plan where the animation is going to 
take place. You provide the animator with this plan via 
the director. I worked in that most of the time. And the 
director, whenever he would get a storyboard, would have to 
plan how he was going to make that and put that on the 
film. So he always called his layout man. "Come in here 
and let ' s talk about how we ' re going to put this on 
film." And so then the layout man tends to redraw the 
storyboards to the director's specifications. So from that 
it led to situations where the director was asked to 
produce a story- -he would say, "Hey, layout man, come in 
here and start making these sketches." So I gradually got 
so I was doing nothing but sketching. I kept wanting to go 
back to layout, and I kept saying, "When am I going back to 
layout?" "No, you're too valuable doing this." So I never 
did get to go back. I stayed on doing story work most of 
the rest of my career. For about twenty years. Twenty- 
five years. 
ZIEGLER: The story that we were talking about, where you 



235 



do the still drawings of the sequence of action and people 

discussed them to get some of the ideas? 

GERRY: Yeah. Sort of a suggestion of what can happen. 

But not necessarily a cinematic scheme that their director 

is going to follow. It is really mostly to show the story 

and the possibilities of the situations and the 

characters. The director, he is the one who is going to 

make it. He is going to put it on film, and he is going to 

decide where the close-ups are and the long shots and the 

pans and the length of the scene and so on. That's not 

really the story man's province. 

ZIEGLER: How is the work of the story man similar to 

illustrating books? Do you feel like you've learned 

something from doing story work that has helped you in 

illustrating books? Or vice versa? 

GERRY: Oh, sure. I think in making things clear and 

understandable and in remembering that you're making the 

picture for an audience, not just for yourself. And the 

most successful illustrators are ones who appeal to the 

audience and make the audience like them, make them like 

the drawing or the illustration. 

ZIEGLER: And maybe picking out what part of the story is 

the best to illustrate? 

GERRY: Yeah, I think that, too. But I would say making a 

motion picture is very much like making a book. There are 



236 



all these elements that have to go together, and in the 
movies it's done by many, many different people. You can 
make a movie by yourself and you can make a book by 
yourself. But there are all these decisions. There are 
all these problems that have to be faced that evolve in 
much the same way, from one state to the next to the next 
to the next. A lot of times, for one reason or another, I 
had to work on a book for a longer period of time than I 
anticipated. And generally, the book would have improved 
from my original idea. Given the extra time, something 
would occur to me to do that hadn't before. If I had just 
rushed right through it — 

ZIEGLER: What films have you worked on from the Disney 
Studios? 

GERRY: When I started, they were doing Sleeping Beauty . 
And I can't remember-- We went from Sleeping Beauty to 101 
Dalmatians . And I was still in layout on that, although I 
did do some story work. From 101 Dalmatians we went to The 
Sword in the Stone . I didn ' t do any story work on that . 
Then we went to The Aristocats . No, no. Then we went to 
Jungle Book . I started to do a lot more story work. I did 
some art direction on that, too, though not too 
successfully. But by the end of that picture, I was doing 
almost exclusively story work. Then we went from Jungle 
Book to The Sword in the Stone. No, I'm sorry, I'm 



237 



sorry. I should remember this, shouldn't I? We went from 
Jungle Book to Aristocats . Right. Aristocats . 
ZIEGLER: Well, anyhow, the sequence doesn't matter if you 
don't remember it. We can even look that up somewhere. 
GERRY: Okay. So we worked on Aristocats . Walt Disney had 
died during Jungle Book . We worked on Aristocats . I went 
to work for another man named Winston Hibler, who was 
supervising the story of The Aristocats . I worked for him 
for quite a while. But then as the material began to 
filter back down to the director, I went back with the 
director to help him develop the boards for filming. This 
was the same director, Wolfgang Reitherman. 

ZIEGLER: Also knows as "Woolie" that we mentioned earlier. 
GERRY: Right. Right. He was a very strong director. 
Relentless in searching out the better way to do 
something. See, that was Aristocats . Then we went to The 
Rescuers , I think. Worked on Rescuers — No, worked on 
Robin Hood . Then we went to Rescuers . And from Rescuers 
we went to The Fox and the Hound , which I only worked on 
very briefly. I did go back to layout on The Rescuers . At 
the last part of it I went to work on that and did some 
layout for a director named Art Stevens. I left the studio 
to start my own printshop in 1977. That was right at the 
end of The Rescuers , the beginning of The Fox and the 
Hound. Then I came back to work on The Black Cauldron for 



238 



Ron Miller, the producer. I was about the fiftieth person 
who had ever worked on it. But I did my version, which I 
thought was pretty good. Then I left the studio and came 
back again to work on Basil, the mouse detective who I told 
you was on the clock tower of Big Ben. Then I worked on a 
picture called Oliver , which was a recent success. Now I'm 
working on some stories that they're going to use in their 
plant [Disney-MGM Studio Tour at Disney World] down in 
Florida. Some Mickey Mouse stories to bring back the old 
characters. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. And I'll probably 
work on one more feature, I hope, before finally 
retiring. 

ZIEGLER: I saw that Disney version of Winnie- the-Pooh , and 
I saw your name in the credits on that. I wonder if you 
could talk some about what it is like when there's a 
classic illustrator, like the Ernest Shepherd illustrations 
for the A. A. Milne books, and then you have to animate 
that. Are there any problems? Or maybe any particular 
challenges working around these illustrations that everyone 
associates with the story? 

GERRY: We had a very difficult time with that story. And 
when I look back, I wonder why. But it was. I think it 
was because nothing happened. It wasn't a real cartoon 
story. There was no violent cartoon action that we could 
depend on for laughs or-- It was very whimsical. And we 



239 



were not suited-- 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, and so much of the humor--that ' s one of my 
favorite books — is so verbal, I think. 

GERRY: Right. I always think of it as literature and not 
cartoons. But Walt decided he wanted to make it. So we 
struggled with the story. But meanwhile, they were talking 
about the artwork, and a woman named Sylvia Romer got a 
book. She bought a Winnie- the-Pooh book at the bookstore 
and she colored the drawings that were in the book. And 
the director was so impressed with these drawings that he 
decided that was the style we were going to use and 
everybody should draw like Shepherd. [laughter] So there 
was an attempt to get some of that Shepherdesque texture in 
drawing in there. It certainly was a long way from 
Shepherd, but the attempt was there. That was the style, 
and it all came because Sylvia had done a job of tinting 
these drawings that were in the book. The director was 
just sold on that idea. 

So at least we had the style, but we still didn't have 
the story, because we were not whimsical people. But 
eventually, it seems to me, we went back more and more to 
the book, rather than trying to invent cartoon funny 
business for these characters . We went back to the book 
more frequently until finally-- I can't believe how much of 
a struggle it was to get that first one done, Winnie-the- 



240 



Pooh and the Honey Tree . And it was very successful. But 
it didn't have any of the things in it that we could do 
best. You know? That was why it was such a struggle. But 
we went back and actually used the dialogue right out of 
the book and actually played it in more of a whimsical sort 
of tongue-in-cheek way. And, of course, the Sherman 
brothers [Bob and Dick Sherman], their songs did an awful 
lot, too, to make that picture come off. When it was 
finally animated, it seemed very much like the book to 
me. But we had gone a very circuitous route to get 
there. Then we did it and it was popular. It became a 
fairly big success. And it was tied in with some 
merchandising that made it affordable to do it, because we 
couldn't afford to do anything but a feature then. 
Anything less than a feature we couldn't afford to do. 

So then we did a third one, and the idea was 
eventually to-- I mean, we did a second one and we were 
going to do a third one, and then they could put it 
together in a theatrical release and recoup all losses, and 
maybe make some money, I don't know. So I worked on the 
second one. The second one was Winnie-the-Pooh and the 
Blustery Day . And for that one, we employed some of the 
top animators. The first one was made with-- I don't want 
to say second-stringers, but we were all pretty much 
second-stringers on that first Winnie-the-Pooh . And then 



241 



the second one, we got some of the top animators. Milt 
Kahl, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, and some others. Then 
on the third one, I don't think I was-- I wasn't involved 
with the third one at all, so I can't tell you how that was 
finally done. So that was my Winnie-the-Pooh experience. 
ZIEGLER: Ernest Shepherd's drawings are sort of sketchy, 
and apparently animation has hard outlines. And I think 
even though I could see you were taking the shapes of 
Winnie-the-Pooh and Eeyore and the other characters from 
the book, the picture still looked very different in the 
end. 

GERRY: Yeah, well, that just happens as the nature of 
animation. 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, that is inevitable in the medium. 
GERRY: His pictures were, of course, still pictures. 
ZIEGLER: Yeah. It's bound to be different. 

GERRY: Once you start to move them, then there are lots of 
problems that are not in a still picture. And, of course, 
the animators have to have a certain way to draw that ' s 
comfortable for them that they can get the character in, 
you know, every conceivable position. Where Shepherd 
wasn't faced with that problem. So they might have to draw 
some of them a little different. Well, by using the xerox 
process, you see, we could sort of hint at the Shepherd 
style, in the background at least. 



242 



ZIEGLER: Okay. Well, now, I have just sort of a whole 

grab bag of things, of questions that were raised by 

previous interviews that I just want to clear up. 

GERRY: Okay. God, this has been a lot of work for you! 

ZIEGLER: Things like just verifying names and things like 

that. 

GERRY: Oh, okay. 

ZIEGLER: But one maybe more substantial question. How did 

you come up with the pseudonym Bunston Quayles? 

GERRY: Oh, I-- Bunny Quayles. A frightened little rabbit 

hiding in the bushes would be a bunny quailing under the 

bushes. Because I was a coward to write it in my own 

name. [laughter] And I had met a guy named Dunston, and 

they all called him "Dunny." Maybe that was where I got 

it. And me being a chicken, a coward, not to write it 

under my own name. 

ZEIGLER: Well, can you think of any topics we haven't 

covered or anything else that you'd like to say here? 

GERRY: Well, I think if you-- The Disney story and the 

story of me as a printer overlap. But the Disney story 

would be another book in itself, really. If the library 

was interested, there are other people who are still alive 

who know a lot more than I do. But it's another whole 

story. We haven't really touched on it, just a little bit 

here. 



243 



ZIEGLER: Well, would you like to say some more about it? 
GERRY: No. I don't think so. 

ZIEGLER: Well, maybe the Disney archive will interview you 
about that some day. 

GERRY: Right. That's right. I'm sure Dave [David R. 
Smith] 's gotten a lot of those people--you know, that are 
still around who were there at the beginning--to talk. 
ZIEGLER: Well, I'd just like to say I have really enjoyed 
this. I really had a lot of fun looking at your printing 
at the Clark [Library] and I really enjoyed talking to you. 
GERRY: I surely saved every paper, didn't I? Every scrap 
of paper. Yeah, I did that for my own amusement really, 
because I thought, "Well, someday I'll just go through 
these things and look at each piece of paper for 
remembering. And then I will throw it away." But then I 
thought maybe Ed [Edwin H. Carpenter] could-- "It may be of 
some benefit to Ed if he would like to have it." And then 
he gave it to the Clark. I didn't have any idea they would 
have ever wanted it. 

ZIEGLER: Well, of course we want it! And it's too late to 
throw it away now. [laughter] We're guarding it carefully 
down at the Clark. But we would love to have you come down 
to the Clark and look at it whenever you feel like it. 
GERRY: Well, I hope they were able to get some similar 
material from Grant Dahlstrom's Castle Press. I will have 



244 



to ask John [Bidwell] sometime. 

ZIEGLER: I haven't checked into what we have in the way of 

archival material on the Castle Press. We have a large 

collection of the books printed, and we have a lot about 

Grant Dahlstrom. 

GERRY: Well, I meant specifically job envelopes or 

something that-- 

ZIEGLER: Yeah, I don't know. I haven't checked into 

that. But we do try to collect that sort of thing when we 

can get it down at the Clark. Because, of course, that 

really tells the whole story. I mean, it's great to see 

the stages of the job, and not just the finished product. 

GERRY: Yeah. Brings back a lot of memories. 



245 



INDEX 



A-1 Bookbinders, 150 
Abbey of San Encino Press, 

13, 18-19, 177, 191 
Adjarian, Max, 161 
Adler, Elmer, 131 
Alguire, Danny, 70 
Alice In Wonderland , 24 
Alliance for Contemporary 

Book Arts, 191-92 
American Typefounders 

Fellowship, 201 
Ampersand Press, 64-65 
Anderson, Gregg, 165, 172- 

73 
Anderson, Ken, 219, 225, 

227 
Apostol, Jane, 36, 40, 58 
Appet, Louis, 27, 95, 206 
Archer, H. Richard, 77 
Ardizzone, Edward, 67, 86- 

87, 139, 144, 210-11, 223 
Arellanes, Audrey, 83-84 
Arion Press, 172, 195 
Aristocats , The , 238 
Armitage, Merle, 173-74 

Bailey, Betty, 59 
Bailey, Dan, 59, 108 
Bailey, Paul, 176 
Baker, Marion A., 107-8 
Ballish, Ray, 35 
Balthus, Balthasar, 223 
Barnhart, Dale, 70-71, 80, 

146 
Bawden, Edward, 144, 223 
Bennett, Arnold, 214 
Bevis, Laura Dorothy, 181- 

82 
Bewick, Thomas, 217 
Bidwell, John, 88, 188-89 
Bielenson, Peter, 131-32, 

156 
Black Cauldron , The, 238-39 
Blair, Preston, 219 
Blau, Bela, 42, 71, 148-51 
Bliss, Carey S., 54, 63 
Bofa, Gustave, 223 



Bohne, Pall W. , 39-40, 60, 

62, 118, 184, 206 
Book Arts Print Shop, 191 
Book Collectors Society, 

191 
Bookman Press, 99 
Bookplate Collectors 

Society, 83-84 
Bradford, William, 70 
Bradley, Will, 58-59 
Bragdon, Miriam, 103-4 
Brandt, Rex, 144, 219, 222 
Brett, Dorothy, 99 
Brown, Grace Marion, 174 
Brown, Helen Carter, 65 
Browne, Clyde, 13, 16, 17, 

18-19, 177 
Bullard, Carolyn, 184-85 
Bundy, Gilbert, 224 
Burns, Robert, 95 
Business Printers, 160 
Butler, William H., 89 

Cactus and Succulent 

Journal , 13, 15-16 
Califia Bookstore, 198 
Carpenter, Edwin H., 19, 

93, 115, 186-87, 244 
Carter, Pruett, 224 
Caslon, William, 125 
Cassidy, Barry, 198 
Castle Press, 7-10, 12-18, 

20, 47-48, 74, 102, 144, 

175, 176, 191, 244-45 
Cheever, John, 42, 47, 93 
Cheney, William, 54, 91-92 
China Boy , 161 
Chirico, Giorgio de, 223 
Chouinard, Nelbert Murphy, 3 
Chouinard Art Institute, 3- 

4, 21 
Christian, Peggy, 75-76 
Clark, William Andrews, 

Jr., 186 
Clark Library (UCLA), 152, 

185-86, 188-89, 197, 244- 

45 



246 



Class, John, 198 
Clemmons, Larry, 153-54 
Clyde Browne and the Abbey 

San Enclno , 18 
Coats, Claude, 219 
Cooper, Oswald, 131 
Corrigan, A.J., 58 
Curwen Press, 112-14, 131, 

132, 156, 157, 211, 214, 

215, 223 

Dahlstrom, Grant, 7-17, 20, 
21-22, 23-24, 33, 48, 59, 
63-65, 74-75, 76, 127, 
130, 131, 157-58, 161, 
163, 165, 168, 173-76, 
191, 193, 244-45 

Dahlstrom, Helen Slater, 65 

Dailey, William, 117, 179- 
80 

Dailey, William and 

Victoria, Rare Books and 
Fine Prints, 117, 179 

D'Ambrosio, Joseph, 192, 
194-95 

Davidovich, Vasily, 70 

Davies, David W., 13, 17, 
18, 56, 102-3, 178 

Davis, Floyd, 224 

Davis, Sam, 58 

Dawson, Glen, 54, 61, 75, 
76, 103, 177, 200 

Dawson, Muir, 75, 76, 177, 
200 

Dawson's Book Shop, 12, 53, 
54, 56, 61, 62, 64, 75, 
106, 112, 177-78, 182, 
198 

De Mers, Joe, 224 

Devine, J. P., 67 

Dibden, Thomas Frognall, 
116 

Dike, Phil, 219 

Disney, Walt, 233, 235, 238 

Dreyfus, John, 183 

Duensing, Paul H., 201-2 

Dwiggins, William A. , 156, 
203 

Earl Gray Bindery, 55 



Elsie and the Child , 211, 

214, 223 
Erickson, Carl, 224 
Evans, Henry, 86 

Fay, Eliot, 99 
Fay, Margaret, 99 
Fine Arts Press, 177 
Fisher, M.F.K., 40, 57-58, 

211 
Fitzgerald, Scott, 90 
Ford, Ford Madox, 69, 96 
Fox and the Hound , The , 238 
Francis, Bruce, 42 
Freedman, Barnett, 224 
Freeman, Nate, 30 

Gayne Brothers and Lane, 

209 
Gerry, Clella White 

( mother ) , 6 
Gerry, Francis B. (father), 

2, 56 
Gerry, Mary Palmer (wife), 

24, 30, 31, 33, 66, 205-6 
Golden Cockerel Press, 131, 

144 
Goudy, Frederic, 127, 131 
Graham, Donald W., 3-6, 22- 

23, 225 
Great Mouse Detective , The , 

228 
Green, Ralph, 107 
Greene, Graham, 46 
Grey, Earl, 148 

Hancock, Warren, 97 
Harmsen, Tyrus, 77, 190-91 
Hart, James D., 160 
Haselton, Scott E., 9, 12- 

16, 33, 37, 175 
Hibler, Winston, 238 
Hitchcock, David, 97-98, 

108, 152 
Hoernle, John, 20 
Hoffman, Richard, 178 
Hogarth Press, 47 
Hopkins, Richard, 201 
Horn, Andrew, 191 
Houle, George J., 180 



247 



Housman, A.E., 73 
Hoyem, Andrew, 195, 202 
Hulett, Ralph, 219 
Huntington Library (San 
Marino, California), 186 

International Alliance of 
Graphic Artists (lAGA), 
165 

Johnston, Ollie, 231, 242 

Jones, David, 223 

Jones, Louise Seymour, 55- 

56 
Jungle Book , The , 237-38 

Kahl, Milt, 242 
Karmiole, Kenneth, 180 
Kater Craft, 151-52 
Kauffer, McKnight, 223 
Kavin, Mel, 151-52 
Kennedy, Richard, 47 
King, Susan, 41, 192 
Kinney, George, 144, 176 
Kosa, Emil, 219 
Kroll, Tony, 97, 98 
Kronfeld, Marion, 65-66 

Laborde, Charles, 223 
Landacre, Paul, 163, 184 
Laurel Hill Press, 79 
Lawrence, D.H., 99 
Lawrence, Frieda, 99 
Leggett, Edwina, 198 
LeGuin, Ursula K. , 44 
Liebowitz, Morris, 31 
Lincoln, Harry, 26 
Lindner, Ernest A., 53, 55, 

60, 68 

Loomis, Andrew, 21 

Lord John Press, 41-42, 45, 

61, 89, 93, 94, 113 
Lorson, James E., 89, 93, 

116, 179, 200, 218 
Lorson, Joan, 89, 116 
Lorson 's Books and Prints, 

89-90, 116, 198 
Lucky, Rochelle, 46-47, 55 
Luhan, Mabel Dodge, 99 
Lustig, Alvin, 173 



Lutes, Dela, 69, 96 

Mackensie and Harris, 

Typesetters, 195, 202 
Magritte, Rene, 223 
Marks, Lillian, 66, 118, 

148, 159, 191 
Marks, Saul, 74, 130, 131, 

157-59, 161, 163, 191, 

193 
Marshall, Elva, 69, 97, 98, 

176, 192 
Matisse, Henri, 223 
Matrix (magazine), 147-48, 

215 
McCallister, Bruce, 174-75 
Meynell, Francis, 131, 132, 

156 
Mid-West Matrix, 124 
Miller, John Parr, 225 
Miller, Ron, 239 
Moore, Clement C. , 78 
Moore, William, 4, 225 
Morison, Stanley, 127, 156, 

158 
Murphy, Gerald, 32 

Nash, John Henry, 186 
New Ampersand Press, 64-65 
Nicoll- Johnson, Mark, 65 
Nonesuch Press, 131, 132, 

156, 157 
Norman, Bonnie Thompson, 192 

O'Connor, John, 223 

Oliver, 239 

Olson, House, 16-18, 102, 

175 
101 Dalmatians , 237 
Orphanos, Stathis, 45-46, 

119-20, 142 
Owen, Wilfred, 70-71, 146 

Palmer, Russell (brother- 
in-law), 24 

Peach Pit Press, 31 

Peet, Bill, 225 

Percival, Olive, 36 

Peter Pauper Press, 132, 
156 



248 



Picasso, Pablo, 223 
Plranesi, Giambattista, 

184-85 
Plantin Press, 65-66, 190 
Plantln Press of Saul and 

Lillian Marks , The , 190- 

91 
Platen Jobber , The , 106-7 
Poe, Edgar Allan, 61 
Powell, Lawrence Clark, 

163, 176, 189-90, 215 
Primavera Press, 55, 160-61 
Purdy, James, 42, 94 

Handle, John, 147, 215-16 

Ravilious, Eric, 144, 223 

Reagh, Patrick, 12, 34-35, 
44, 45-46, 61, 68, 71, 
77, 79, 88, 90, 117-21, 
135, 142, 143, 161, 171, 
178, 179, 180, 183, 189, 
192, 194 

Reitherman, Wolfgang 

"Woolie," 225, 226, 238 

Rescuers , The , 229-31, 238 

Ricci, Vera, 11, 62-63, 65 

Richardson, Charles Leland, 
86, 100, 115 

Riley, Art, 219 

Rinaldi, Joe, 225 

Ritchie, Ward, 33, 39, 55, 
56, 63, 77, 130, 131, 
139, 157-58, 159-61, 163, 
178, 190, 191, 193 

Rizzo, Anthony, 26-27, 95 

Robin Hood , 238 

Rogers, Bruce, 156, 203 

Rojankovsky, Feodor, 224 

Romer, Sylvia, 240 

Rounce and Coffin Club, 19, 
67, 68, 77, 79, 84, 159, 
163, 165-66, 190, 192 

Routledge, Edmund, 62 

Roxburghe Club, 67, 189 

Ruzicka, Rudolf, 123 

Ryland, Teri, 76-77 

Ryman, Herb, 219 

San Pasqual Press, 56, 114- 
15, 181 



Saunders Studio Press, 177 
Scott E. Haselton and His 

Abbey Garden Press , 12-13 
Self -Realization 

Fellowship, 209 
Sharp, William, 73 
Shaw, Mel, 228 
Sheets, Millard, 220 
Sherman, Bob, 241 
Sherman, Dick, 241 
Simon, Oliver, 156 
Sleeping Beauty , 237 
Sloan, Helen, 13-14, 15, 29 
Smith, Sydney, 69 
Snow White , 5 
Sperry, Baxter, 79-80 
Spicer, Dorothy, 81 
Stanchfield, Walter, 60-61, 

73-74, 105-6 
Stauffacher, Jack W. , 172 
Steiger, Gary, 182 
Stevens, Art, 238 
Stewart, Gloria, 192 
Stickful of Nonpareil , A^, 87 
Sword in the Stone , The, 237 
Sylvester, Ralph, 45-46, 

119-20, 142 

Taber, Gladys, 66 
Tanner, Wesley, 172 
Tenggren, Gustaf, 224 
Thomas, Diana, 137 
Thomas, Frank, 225-26, 242 
Thomas, Roscoe, 16, 17, 18, 

175 
Thompson, Michael, 182 
Tiger Press, 191 
Trefz, Steve, 115 
Trefz, Val, 114-15 
Trefz Press, 115 
Twain, Mark, 68 

Updike, John, 45 

Voss, Eric, 194 

Walt Disney Studio, 5, 23- 
24, 140-41, 153-54, 218- 
19, 225-42 

Walton, Izaak, 72 



249 



Weather Bird ( newsletter ) , 

112-14, 196 
Weather Bird Press, 30-39, 

153-54; binding and, 145- 

52, 206-9; newsletter of, 

112-14; paper used at, 

133-35; sales, 195-201; 

typefaces of, 122-29 
Weber, Jeff, 180-82 
Western Books Exhibition, 

74, 78, 159, 163-70, 192- 

93 
Western Lore Press, 176 
Whitcomb, Jon, 224 
White, Lula Baxter 

(grandmother), 209-10 
White, T.H., 117 
Whitmore, Coby, 224 
Williams, Roy, 62 
Williams, Tennessee, 142 
Williams, Thomas, 177 
Wilson, Adrian, 172 
Wilson, Alfred W., 61 
Winnie-the-Pooh and the 

Blustery Day , 241-42 
Winnie-the-Pooh and the 

Honey Tree , 239-42 

Yellin, Herb, 41-45, 57, 
94, 113, 119 

Zamorano Club, 63, 67, 189, 
191 

Zeitlin, Jake, 55-56, 63, 
64-65, 67-68, 76, 160-62, 
163, 174, 178, 180-85 

Zornes, Milford, 144, 220 



250 



INDEX OF BOOKS DESIGNED AND/OR PRINTED BY 
VANCE GERRY 

Bahloul and Hamdouna 

Bibliography of Cheney Miniatures 

"Bibliophile's Map to Los Angeles, A" 

Black Cat, The 

Book of Poems, A; Cruachan 

Borscht: Being a Russian Recipe 

Boy ' s Book of Fireworks 

Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast, 
The (not yet published) 

Castle & Peacocks 

Chile; Being a Texas Recipe 

Christmas at Forest Sauvage 

Christmas at Manor Farm 

Complete Angler, The 

Day the Pig Fell in the Well, The 

Designs Cut for Plant in Press Calendars, 65-66 

1941 to 1946 

Dibden's Ghost 116 

Distributing Type or the Just Art of 67 

Throwing In 

Ernest A. Lindner Collection of Antique 54-55, 159 

Printing Machinery, The 

Everyday Gourmet, The 59 



First Thanksgiving, The 



50- 


51 


54 




88, 


188 


61 




79 




69 




62 




115 


-16 


147 




69, 


70 


117 




78 




72- 


73 


42, 


47, 


93- 


94 



70 



251 



Flowers on a Table; A Study of an 54 

Imprudent Wood Engraving 

Four Common Plants; Linoleum Cuts and 84-85 

the Text Describing Oleander, Plumbago, 
Wild Cucumber, and Yarrow 

Four Weeds 85-86, 

100-101 

Gatsby, No Show Dog, Found a Home in 67-68 

Hollywood Anyway 

Gentleman's Cooking Book (not yet published) 110-11 

Glimpse of the Past from the Minutes of 77 

the Rounce and Coffin Club, A 

Grant Dahlstrom at Seventy- five; More Tributes 64 

Grant Dahlstrom, Master Printer; A Tribute on 63-65 
His Seventy-fifth Birthday 

Helen Slater Dahlstrom, 1905-1985; Memorial 65 
Addresses Given August 30, 1985 

Hour of the Rose, The 73 

House Olson, Printer 



I Remember Robinson Jeffers 

John Gerry and His Descendants 

Last Time I Dined with the King, The 

Letter from Mark Twain concerning the Paige 
Compositor, A 

Letters concerning D. H. Lawrence 

Letters of Saint Jerome 

Marvelous Platen Jobber of George 
Phineas Gordon, The 

Mary Elizabeth 

Miniatures on Modern Artists; Some Notes 



252 



17, 


102-3, 


178 




63 




56- 


57 


80- 


81 


68 




99- 


100 


161 




106 


-7 


78 




52, 


147 



69, 96- 


■98 


27-28 




89, 90 




86-87 




43-44, 


61, 


89 




53-54 




69, 96 




76-n 




42-43, 


94- 


95 





Mission Grapes 

Night before Christmas, The 

Nothing To Wear 

On the Illustrating of Books 

Out of the West; Poems by William Everson , 

Gary Snyder, Philip Levlne, Clayton Eshleman, 
and Jerome Rothenberg 

Picture Book of Chickens, A 

Plum Pudding 

Poems 

Proud Flesh 



Restful Reading for Young and Old, Designed 67 
to Banish Care and Alleviate Cynicism, 
Decorously Illustrated with Cuts 

Sandwiches and Coffee 96 

San Pasgual Press, The: A Dream Nearly 39, 46, 

Realized 114-15 

Seaside Plants of Southern California 85-86, 

(not yet published) 115, 210- 

11 

Selected War Poems of Wilfred Owen 70-71, 146 

Sharp Criticism of Nineteenth Century Letter- 58 
Forms, A 

Some English Christmas Customs 81-82 

Some Epigrammatical Notes 26-27, 95 

Some Fond Remembrances of a Boy Printer 40, 74-76 
at the Castle Press 

Special Recipes for Special People 11, 62-63 

Spring Barley: Poems of the Santa Ynez 106, 147 
Valley 



253 



standing and the Waiting, The 40-41, 57- 

58, 211, 
214, 215 

Stillmeadow Christmas 66 

Summer Impressions and Other Poems 105 

3X3; Nine Poems from Los Angeles 65 

Through the Garden Gate 103-4 

To a Mouse 95-96 

Topography of the Castle Press, circa 1943, 47-49, 88 
and Other Dim Recollections 

Torrey Pine Reserve 44 

Trans-Pacific 189 

Treatise on the Art and Antiquity of Cookery 46-47, 55, 

in the Middle Ages, A 148-49 

Tussie Mussie, A 55-56 

Type 67 

Typographical Howitzer, The 58 

Under Three Inches 61-62 

Unique 1824 Columbian Press, A 60 

Vaporisms 62 

Vegetable Soup 69, 96 

Visit from Saint Nicholas, A 78 

Walt Stanchfield: A Series of Wood Cuts 105 

Will Bradley 40, 58-59 

With Rue My Heart is Laden 73 

Zinfandel Grapes 69, 98 



254 



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